I-Team Report: Spring forecast - WNEM TV 5

I-Team Report: Spring forecast

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MID-MICHIGAN (WNEM) -

With an unusually warm winter the I-Team wanted to see how the forecast looks for spring.

Jim Ankenbrandt co-owns Mid-Michigan Golf Center.

“We’re really geared up this time of the year because everybody wants a chance to get out there and hit some more balls again,” Ankenbrandt said.

He said many of his customers are eager to feel spring’s warmth out on the course.

“They see golf on TV. They want to go out and imitate the pros and they can’t because the weather doesn’t allow for it,” Ankenbrandt said.

The past few days temperatures ran well above average, making it seem like spring was arriving early. However, the official start of spring is still a month away.

When it arrives will there be lots of severe storms? What about snow? How much sun will we see? How much longer will winter last? Who needs Punxsutawney Phil when we have our First Warn 5 Weather team led by Chief Meteorologist Bryan Bachman.

“Well, Spring is always one of those more interesting seasons since it’s one of those transitional periods as we move away from the cold of winter back toward the relative warmth eventually of summer. So it’s prone to bigger swings usually. We could see pretty big stretches where we go way into the above average category, or way into the below average category in terms of temps and precipitation," Bachman said.

Depending on the type of weather you like, spring can be anything from a hole-in-one to a triple bogey. Meteorologist Chris Easlick is looking at how climate factors like La Nina and El Nino could impact our spring. He said you shouldn’t put away the winter gear yet.

“We’re experiencing cold temperatures and will likely keep those cold temperatures going into the month of March if we follow the traditional pattern of a La Nina coming off an El Nino winter. However, once we reach the month of April, usually April in this pattern tends to run a little bit above average," Easlick said.

However, having a lot of rain this spring may dampen the mood. Meteorologist Claire Cameron takes a look at how much we are going to see.

“We’re looking at, for this upcoming season, is one that shows above average potential for a little bit more rain across the region. What we generally see in spring for the entire season in Saginaw is about 8 inches of rain. A little bit more in Flint. You see about 8.5 inches for the entire season of spring. So we could be looking towards a little bit more rain," Cameron said.

So while Cameron wouldn’t be surprised to see a lot of rain delays on the golf course, Meteorologist Dan Giroux said there’s a good chance those raindrops could be warm ones.

“Going back the past 30 years when we’ve had winters that are similar to ours what we’ve noticed is that we see slightly warmer springs. And we can expect that might be a possibility as well this year just based on a pure numbers standpoint," Giroux said.

A seasonal outlook for our region isn’t complete without taking a look at how the Great Lakes will play a role in the weather. Bachman said the meager ice coverage on the lakes could impact us this spring.

“Historically when that’s happened, most recently in 2016 and back in 2012, both of those springs went on to be abnormally warm by several degrees across the entire season. And we were slightly below average in the precipitation category, but by a very minor amount," Bachman said.

He also said the lakes could warm faster, and that the mild water could fuel stronger thunderstorms as we enter severe weather season. Meanwhile, back on the course, golfers are enjoying a rare treat. But how long will it be before we can expect to hit the links outside every day?

“Probably by about mid to late April I think you’ll be able to get outdoors and do some golfing again. And we’ll really start to see spring take hold from then into the rest of the season. And of course the entire First Warn 5 weather team will be here every step of the way with your daily forecasts throughout the entire season," Bachman said.

As Ankenbrandt conducts golf lessons indoors, he’s got an eye outside. He looks forward to teaching the game he loves in some fresh air and bright sunshine.

“I’m hoping that he is wrong and we get to play golf in March. But again, typically in Mid-Michigan you know April is when the leagues start again and that’s when people really get gung-ho again," he said.

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