Michigan residents who describe the recent frigid temperatures are arctic aren’t exaggerating, and they have the Siberian Express to thank.
This week, low temperatures in upper portions of the state reached 39 degrees below zero, which is just about the same temperature as the North Pole, at minus 44 degrees.
As MLive pointed out, no part of the state was spared the frigid temperatures.
“At 8 a.m. this morning, the coldest temperatures were almost 40 below zero, and the warmest temperature was 2 degrees. But the average temperature for the entire state of Michigan at 8 a.m. was 18.5 degrees below zero, according to statistics derived by weatherbell.com. That makes Michigan easily the coldest state in the country this morning.”
The same frigid air system that brought arctic temperatures to Michigan has gripped nearly all of the eastern half of the United States. The Siberian Express system, named for the frigid air it brings from Siberia, has brought more than 100 record low temperature readings this week, with forecasters predicting that it could eventually stay and make for a cooler than usual spring and even summer.
6:47am CST.Another look at this morning’s record breaking cold Great Lakes to Florida. Warmer in Alberta, CAN than FL pic.twitter.com/gU0x8iGUnc
— Ken Dewey (@kdewey1unl) February 20, 2015
The icy air has left the Great Lakes more than 85 percent frozen over, with every inch of Lake Erie covered in ice.
George Leshkevitch, a scientist with the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, said the ice covering the Great Lakes will play a big part in the temperature for the coming weeks and months.
“Last year, we had ice throughout May, and even lingering into June,” he said.
“If that happens again, we’re likely to have a cool spring—which is good for the fruit growers along Lake Michigan, saves them from possible killing frost.”
The Siberian Express is also blamed for more than 20 deaths across the eastern United States.
“This week ranks among the most intense arctic outbreaks so far in the 21st century for the eastern U.S., and it is certainly one of the most impressively cold air masses we’ve seen this late in the winter season, coming only a month before the spring equinox,” says Weather.com senior meteorologist Nick Wiltgen.
Michigan residents are about to get a reprieve from the Siberian Express and its arctic temperatures, but only a brief one. The next few days are expected to break above zero and bring temperatures higher than the North Pole, but forecasters say there are likely two more arctic blasts coming in the next two weeks.
[Image via Monroe News]