DETROIT – In my thirty-five years working here at Local 4, this is a first. We set four different weather records on Tuesday.
Keep in mind that, from a temperature standpoint, there are six different records possible on any given calendar day. We have our record highest temperature, our record warmest low temperature, our record warmest average temperature for the day (high plus low, divided by two), our record coldest high temperature, our record lowest temperature, and our record average temperature for the day.
We also have two precipitation records: snow, and total precipitation…which is rainfall and / or the melted liquid equivalent of any snow that falls.
Tuesday, February 20th, 2018 will go down as one of the most noteworthy weather days, statistically, in Detroit weather history -- and that history officially dates back into the 1870s. On this single day, we set the following four records:
High Temperature: 65° (previous record was 63° in 2016)
Warmest Low Temperature: 49° (previous record was 47° in 1930)
Highest Average Temperature: 57° (previous record was 54° in 1930)
Most Precipitation: 1.10” (previous record was 1.07” in 1891)
Most of the metro area received two-to-three inches of rain since Monday, and a lot of people have been asking me how much snow that would have been if it was colder. This amount of water would have generated two feet or more of snow!
I’m also being asked if global warming caused this storm. The answer is simple: no.
However, it has been documented that global warming is evaporating increasing amounts of ocean water into the atmosphere, and this water vapor is what storms use to produce precipitation.
So, while global warming absolutely did not cause this storm, it did contribute to the record rainfall that was produced. An analogy that’s easy to understand is baseball players on steroids. Barry Bonds used steroids, and he has the Major League Baseball record for most home runs.
Bonds was a very talented hitter, and he hit home runs without steroids. But the steroids helped him hit more of them. It’s the same thing with storms now…these storms would have developed anyway before global warming, but the warming is causing a documented increase in extreme precipitation events.
This is all very simple, and is scientific fact, not speculation: a very tangible effect from the warming climate that you can see and experience for yourself.