Polar vortex not predicted


The National Weather Service predicts Detroit will not endure another January like last season’s, in which 39.1 inches of snow fell to make it the snowiest month on record (Photo Credit: MCT Wire Service).

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency on Nov. 18 for the 10 counties in and around Buffalo that were pummeled with snow.  As of Nov. 21, six to seven feet of snow buried the area, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).  In the coming days, Buffalo could face major flooding as temperatures are expected to rise above freezing.  The crisis in Buffalo leaves many fearing what the remainder of winter holds, not only in New York, but across the nation.

In southeast Michigan, the early mid-November winter blast brought back unwanted memories of last winter’s polar vortex.  In 2013 and 2014, the greater Detroit area endured the repercussions of the record breaking winter.  According to the NWS, a total of 94.9 inches of snow had been measured at Detroit Metro Airport as of April 17, 2014, making last winter the snowiest to date.

However, the NWS does not expect Detroit to experience another winter like last year’s.  Dave Gurney, a NWS meteorologist in White Lake Township, says it would be unusual for two extreme winters to strike Metro Detroit back-to-back.

“It would be hard to have another winter like last year,” Gurney said to The Detroit Free Press. “It was a pretty extreme winter.”

As of Nov. 4, the NWS predicted that southeast Michigan’s winter will be normal.  In its “Winter Outlook for Southeast Michigan,” normal snowfall is expected from December to February.  Gurney told The Detroit Free Press that normal snowfall at Detroit Metro Airport is 44 to 45 inches.  This amount is less than half of last year’s snowfall.

The NWS also predicts relatively normal temperatures this season.  According to its forecast, Metro Detroit can expect to see normal temperatures in December, slightly colder temperatures in January, and normal to slightly colder temperatures in February.  Gurney told The Detroit Free Press that the normal average temperature is 30.1 degrees for December, 25.6 degrees for January, and 28.1 degrees for February.

However, many Mercy students commented that they are skeptical of this forecast.  This is partially due to the unseasonably cold November Metro Detroit has experienced thus far.  One such student, senior Mira Mansuetti, said that she does not believe the predictions.

“It has already been freezing this year and it’s only November,” Mansuetti said. “I can’t imagine [the forecast] is accurate.  I guess I’ll believe it when I see it.”