Rain and water are the most impacting stories to result from the atmosphere in October of 2001. Muskegon received 6.09 inches of rain, which is 3.29 inches over normal rain fall. This is the 5th wettest October on record for Muskegon. Over a 2 day periods (the 12th and 13th) 3.09 inches of rain fell. This two day spate was more than the typical rain fall in October of 2.8 inches.
This rainy month positively impacted lake levels. The most recent update on water levels shows that the lake level is 2 inches superior to last years reading.
While this October was rainy, last October was dry with precipitation .9 inches below norm in 2000.
This up tick in precipitation and water levels dovetails with water level projections which trend upward for next spring. Perhaps the current low water trend has bottomed out.
Along with above average rain, Muskegon also had a windier than normal month. Average wind speed was 11.5 knots. Top day for wind was the 27th which averaged 27.7 knots as a gale blew. Lightest day was the 7th with 3.5 knots average. 16 of the months 31 days had average winds in double digits.
Winds were predominately from the south and west with only 1 day of north winds, and 4 of east winds.
Countering the above average pattern was the temperature which was below normal. For the month temperatures were -.8° from the norm. High was 71° on the 3rd, with a low of 28° on the 8th.
With October following a below normal September for the first time in 2001 Muskegon has had back to back below normal months for warmth. For the year temperatures are 1.0 degrees above normal.
Looking ahead to winter the National Weather service expects lower than normal temperatures for the Great Lakes. Additionally more sub zero days than recent winters are projected. The snowfall outlook is above normal.
One reason for more extreme cold days could be a weather phenomenon known as the Arctic Oscillation. These are winds that flow counterclockwise at about 55° latitude. When the winds are in a negative and slower phase more cold air dips down to lower latitudes, causing extreme cold. If the Oscillation is in a positive or faster phase it acts as a dam and keeps Arctic air to the north.
This combined with the absence of either an El or La Nino oscillation should bring more winter like weather than the recent past.
Finally, we escaped snow fall in October. In November Muskegon averages nearly 9 inches, and last year we received 11.7 inches. So now that most boats are out of the water, it’s time to ready your snow handling gear.
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