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Posted on Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 2:59 p.m.

Big, bad winter hasn't materialized for Ann Arbor area - but wait until this weekend

By Cindy Heflin


Recent balmy temperatures have made it possible to walk about in shirtsleeves, as Adrian resident Angel Schroeder did on a recent day while walking about the University of Michigan campus with her friend, Liz Arnold. That's about to change, forecasters say.

Angela J. Cesere |

What do Tim Tebow and global warming have in common? The polarizing Denver Broncos quarterback and the hotly debated environmental phenomenon are both off-limits for office banter among meteorologists at

"It seems that the subjects we can’t talk about here are politics, religion, Tim Tebow and global warming," said Mark Paquette, a meteorologist at AccuWeather’s office in State College, Penn. That didn't stop him from speculating Monday that the recent string of abnormally warm weather Ann Arbor and much of the nation has enjoyed could be related to a warming earth. But he warned: Don’t get used to it. Winter weather is headed our way, as soon as this weekend.

Paquette noted that last week more than 1,000 record highs were reported across the United States.

“You just don’t see days like that where a thousand low records are broken,” he said, quickly adding that the theory that the high temperatures could be related to global warming is strictly his own opinion and not hard science.

“That’s a subject that’s up for debate,” he said.

Meteorologist Dave Kook at the National Weather Service in White Lake Township said the winter could still end up with a normal or below normal average temperature if we have a colder than normal January and February. What matters is what happens over a long period of time, he said.

“Records happen,” he said. “I don’t think you can really attribute a month and a half of warmer than normal temperatures to global warming.”

We'll leave that debate to the scientists. At any rate, the weather patterns are about to change, Kook said, bringing in cold air this weekend.

The Ann Arbor area will continue to enjoy unseasonably warm weather for the rest of today and Wednesday, with the high today expected to reach 48 and the high Wednesday expected to be 43. We'll enjoy sunny conditions both days.

On Thursday, colder weather will move in with a chance of rain and snow showers and a high near 37. Thursday night, snow showers are likely with a low of 19. Friday will bring a 50 percent chance of snow showers and a high of only 24. Saturday, Sunday and Monday will be partly sunny with highs in the 20s and low 30s.

Paquette said this week’s weather will mark the beginning of a shift from the abnormally warm conditions of December and the early part of January to more normal or slightly below normal temperatures for the rest of the winter. Those temperatures should be accompanied by normal or slightly below normal snowfall as well.

He admitted AccuWeather meteorologists have a bit of egg on their faces after putting out a forecast in the fall calling for bitter cold and a lot of snow this winter.

AccuWeather had forecast the average temperature in December and January to be 3 to 4 degrees below the normal average. In Ann Arbor, the average high for December is 35 and the average low is 20. In January, the averages are 31 and 15.

Instead, the average temperature in December turned out to be about 5 degrees warmer than normal, 12th warmest since 1880, and January so far is running about 8 degrees above normal. Ten days in December had an average temperature more than 10 degrees above normal, Paquette said.

“Hindsight is 20/20. Maybe we shouldn’t have been so confident,” Paquette said.

He said the forecast was based on the climate pattern known as La Nina, caused by unusually cold waters off the western coast of South America. But the La Nina pattern was weak this year, so the cold and snow predicted didn’t materialize.

Paquette said we can expect three distinct Arctic cold snaps to move between now and the end of the month. Each snap will be followed by a bit of a warm-up before the cold air moves in again.

But he now predicts the worst of winter’s weather will arrive in February. “February has a pretty decent shot of being cold and snowy. We’re almost assured of that,” he said.

Wait. Didn’t we hear this before? Paquette seems confident this time.

“We know eventually it’s going to change.”


paul wiener

Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 6:37 p.m.

Yet another news story in the long and growing tradition of news stories about things that haven't happened, or may happen. What is everyone afraid of? I have it on good authority that this will be a snowless winter for Ann Arbor.

Sandra Samons

Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 4:09 p.m.

OK, so the headline says we are in for a change in weather for this coming week end, but I can't see anyplace in the article telling what change is forecast. Seems like a cliff hanger to me!

Cindy Heflin

Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 5:18 p.m.

Sandra: Here's the paragraph from the story detailing the expected change: Thursday night, snow showers are likely with a low of 19. Friday will bring a 50 percent chance of snow showers and a high of only 24. Saturday, Sunday and Monday will be partly sunny with highs in the 20s and low 30s. We also have an updated story about the expected snow on our site now: <a href=""></a>


Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 1:32 p.m.

Should we believe them about the rest of January and February?? Seems their track record may not be so good, at least for this year!! I, for one, see no negatives to this weather at all unless one owns a ski resort or pushes snow for a living. Except maybe that there will be more bugs in spring and summer because we haven't had enough cold weather to kill them off. Oh, and after a winter like this, those first early warm days of spring might be appreciated just a little less than they normally are.

Peter Mizla

Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 10:41 a.m.

Here in Connecticut its been a very mild winter- and very dry- little snow or rain. We had the huge disaster the day before Halloween with a foot of heavy wet snow on trees still filled with leaves- but November and December where way milder then average. Thus far January has been downright balmy. The period of dry weather seems over- with rain tonight- but temperatures will average near normal just a day or two (36 high. 19 low) before returning to the 40s. This inland area of CT 35 miles from the shoreline used to be a zone 6, now its become a zone 7. This winter the lowest official temperature has been 6 degrees- with most nights not dropping below 20. My garden has had 2 windmill palms in the ground for the last 5 years years- covered with plastic- no heat- by spring if this continues any cold damage should be minimal.


Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 4:23 a.m.

I wonder if this weather guy is thinking it is ok to praise mikey vick for killing dogs, but it is bad to speak well about a football player who doesn't hurt animals, doesn't do drugs,, does not carry a gun, does not beat his girlfriend, does not have sex with anything that walks, does not lie cheat steal and does not hang out with dirtbags---go figure--and go Tim Tebow and keep drubbing it in their ever loving faces-----and who cares about his weather giberish-----


Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 4:07 a.m.

Who the crap is this tebow guy and why is it relevant to our weather?!


Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 3:36 a.m.

Dear Lord! Has gone completely WHACKO?! Quote from &quot;AccuWeather&quot; lacky: &quot;That's a subject that's up for debate.&quot; Can EXPLAIN why they chose to feature this bunch of non-starters in the &quot;weather business&quot; for an article about Ann Arbor's weather? Have you NOT heard about U of M Prof. of Climatology Ricky Rood and Dr. Jeff Masters (also a U of M Phd. in climate science)-??? Just FYI: these two men created the website: Weather Underground (<a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> right here IN Ann Arbor. The office used to be located on 5th Ave. north of the fire station. They've moved operations to San Francisco but are STILL an Ann Arbor and U of M team. They would never bother with &quot;subject up for debate&quot; types when dealing with Global Warming. Dr. Masters has appeared before congressional committees and devastated the global warming deniers. I suggest you do the same and instead try contacting Rood or Masters the next time you get it into your heads to do a feature like this. Also re: El Nino and El Nina - both are moving to greater extremes as cycle progresses through the past few decades. This is a major indicator and it supports global warming theory and modeling. Guess where I learned that?

The Black Stallion3

Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 12:44 p.m.

As Bill would suggest...........a true pinhead


Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 2:14 a.m.

So, we can't tell the weather a month ahead of time, but we know New York will be under water in 50 years? Got it.


Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 4:24 a.m.

Never mind the fact that meteorology and climatology are different areas of study (or the obvious strawman).


Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 3:59 a.m.

Just FYI: the coastlines are already receding faster than the rate predicted. So, yep, short term fluctuations are hard to predict but long term global predictions are, if anything, conservative. Remember: no one predicts a particular tornado or hurricane will appear at a given time and location. But conditions which tend to produce more of these weather events are noticeable, measurable and provide predictions of more or fewer of them in large areas.


Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 1:55 a.m.

I work with a few Tim Tebow's people who are genuinely nice but who are not that good at there job.

Silly Sally

Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 1:03 p.m.

&quot;...good at there job...&quot; don't you mean THEIR job. How good are you at your job?

The Black Stallion3

Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 2:12 a.m.

I have worked with a few u812's and they are nothing to brag about............but this sure has been some nice weather we are having isn't it?

The Black Stallion3

Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 2:05 a.m.

Just what is a Tim Tebow's people? Please explain.


Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 1:50 a.m.

Meanwhile, back where I grew up in west Texas, they received more than 10&quot; of snow yesterday...their highest one-day total on record. And that's on top of the 5+&quot; they received on Christmas Eve (which of course was already melted and gone). Weird. I'm not complaining, and neither are they down there...

The Black Stallion3

Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 12:43 a.m.

There is no argument I am looking for miguy.............just my stated beliefs which I stand behind.


Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 3:52 a.m.

Next you'll be telling us who God is, what He's thinking, how He created the Universe (and Tebow), and why we should listen to you and admire you. You are standing behind your beliefs: so are millions of kids who believe in Santa Claus.

Billy Bob Schwartz

Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 2:11 a.m.

That reminds me of the story about the supporters of Herbert Hoover singing his theme song, &quot;let's get behind Herbert Hoover,&quot; and someone said, &quot;Don't be ridiculous. Nobody could get that far behind.&quot; Heh-heh. I still like my religion a bit more private, but that's just my view.

Jordan Miller

Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 11:48 p.m.

Larcom for the win. Personally, I was impressed by the use of the word &quot;shirtsleeves&quot; in the photo cutline, for real.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 11:37 p.m.

I'm not trying to get all preachy here - I do think there is merit to the global warming arguments - but if this weather that we are experiencing in SE Michigan were actually an effect of global warming, the results would be catastrophic. Yes, we are experiencing a warmer-than-average January, and had a warmer-than-average December, but I guarantee you that when you see the final numbers for the aggregate global temperatures and as the local numbers total our for the year, the average increase from last year to this year will be marginal.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 10:30 p.m.

With weather in Michigan (or anywhere else, for that matter) if you want to be happy, you just take it as it comes. Roll with the punches. Most importantly, don't complain. It makes you a bore.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 9:47 p.m.

So Accuweather missed the predicted average temperature in December by 8 to 9 degrees and thus far in January, they're off by 11 or 12 degrees? I'm wondering if their meteorologists made a mistake back in school and actually studied meteors rather than weather. Clearly somebody doesn't know what they're doing.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 9:33 p.m.

I love football, grain-fed beef, Tebow, global warming and Newt Gingrich!! Who wants to argue with me?!!?


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 9:34 p.m.

Oh, I also love eating non-locally grown produce if I eat produce at all! YEAH!

The Black Stallion3

Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 9:13 p.m.

Could you please tell me why you can not reference Tim Tebow? I happen to admire an American that is willing to stand up for what he believes in.......he is a true patriot. I also love this weather we are having.

Silly Sally

Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 12:58 p.m.

Tebow is a Gator!


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 11:10 p.m.

Goes hand in hand that the Lions are in the play offs as well. I get it now.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 9:39 p.m.

Let me see if I can help... Meterologist Mark Paguette's office is in State College, Penn. in Pennsylvania. Also located in Pennsylvania not terribly far from State College is a city called Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh is home to the NFL team known as the Pittsburgh Steelers. On Sunday last, Mr. Tebow almost single-handedly knocked the much more highly-rated Steelers out of the playoffs in overtime. All sports media, of course, latched on to this unlikely event and can't get enough of it. No doubt, Mr. Paquette and most others in his office, are Steeler fans and therefore distraught over such a painful loss. The loss, combined with a typical over-hyping media, render Tim Tebow a taboo subject to Steeler fans everywhere. See? It had nothing whatsoever to with the argument you were looking to start.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 9:37 p.m.

Tom Brady is a Patriot - Tebow is a Bronco.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 9:05 p.m.

I thought we weren't allowed to reference global warming when it involves individual temperatures (remember, it's &quot;climate change&quot;, not &quot;temperature change&quot;)? I forgot. this rule only applies if someone is disproving global warming.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 10:13 p.m.

&quot;Global warming&quot; was the original hypothesis; when the data didn't quite fit it was changed to &quot;climate change&quot;; makes sense because it fits any hypothesis whether it gets colder or warmer....ingenious; but there are many who wear aluminum foil on their heads who believe it too...LOL. Reynolds wrap anyone???


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 9:05 p.m.

We'll get increased insect hatchings looooong before we get subtropical weather. Woo, twice as many mosquitoes.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 11:09 p.m.

If we don't get these sub freezing temps? That is exactly what will happen this summer. Seems to me I need to get a screen for my gazebo.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 8:45 p.m.

Thank God for global warming; can't wait until we have weather like Florida in the winter...........


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 10:09 p.m.

@Sunk - You think it will get that warm in the summer? I might need stronger sunscreen............


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 9:40 p.m.

and weather like the sun in the summer!!!!

Geoff Larcom

Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 8:29 p.m.

See? Weather stories can be sassy and fun. What an informative, enjoyable piece. And with a Tebow reference!