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Cooler weather arriving after early warm stretch

Mike Cronick of Quinnesec rakes his greening-up lawn Tuesday. While recent warmer temperatures have spurred growth in yards and trees, the area will see a cooling trend that could linger late into the month. (Iron Mountain Daily News photo by Terri Castelaz)

IRON MOUNTAIN — Cooler weather is taking hold following an early spring heat wave that’s pushed soil temperatures about 7 degrees above average in the region.

Snow could fall today, with temperatures hovering below 40. Highs should reach into the 50s by the weekend but may not get to 60 until much later in the month.

Tuesday’s average soil temperature of 47 degrees compares with a 10-year average for April 13 of 40 degrees, according to greencastonline.com. High temperatures last week at Iron Mountain-Kingsford climbed into the 70s Monday through Wednesday, peaking at 77 on April 6, unofficially tying a record for that date from 1991.

This week’s chillier pattern is due to a traffic jam in upper-level winds, blocking Pacific air from moving west to east, said meteorologist Jonathan Erdman at weather.com.

“Widespread record mid-April cold isn’t expected, but it will certainly squelch any recent spring fever,” he said. The cooler air flowing south from Canada may take some time to move out, he said.

Meanwhile, the long-range forecast from the National Weather Service calls for a 39% chance of above-normal temperatures through the end of June and a 27% of below-normal.

“The April-May-June temperature outlook favors above-normal seasonal mean temperatures for nearly all the contiguous U.S.,” forecaster Jon Gottschalck said. Above-normal temperatures could persist through the summer months, he added.

Locally, normal precipitation is expected for April, with a wetter trend possibly hanging on through July.

The winter was very dry.

Data from the Iron Mountain-Kingsford Wastewater Treatment Plant observation site shows just 34.2 inches of snowfall from October through March, compared with 62 inches during an average winter. The snowiest month was February, with 15.5 inches of snow. A mere 1.5 inches fell in March.

Thanks to a few days of rainfall, water equivalent precipitation in March measured 1.66 inches, which was close to normal.

Temperatures last month averaged 33.5 degrees, more than 6 degrees above normal. The highest reading was 64 degrees on March 23 — a record for the date — while the lowest was 4 degrees on March 2 and March 3.

Temperatures in February were about 5 degrees below average, following a warm January that had readings about 7 degrees above normal. December also was relatively warm — about 5 degrees above average.

The U.S. Drought Monitor on Thursday showed abnormally dry conditions across the Upper Peninsula and northern Wisconsin, although recent showers have pushed the fire danger to low after a very high danger just last week.

Jim Anderson can be reached at janderson@ironmountaindailynews.com.

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