ALPENA — Whatever other surprises the month may have provided, September weather offered what any long-term Northwest Michigan resident should expect, weather officials report.
Despite some unexpected warmth and drizly days, the month followed normal summer-into-fall weather patterns beloved by many who call the region home.
After Alpena logged its 5th-warmest August on record, the city’s average September temperature of 59.8 degrees hovered only a snitch above the normal average of 59 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.
The month’s high and low temperature fell only two days apart, with the thermometer hitting 84 sunny degrees on Sept. 17 — well above the normal September average high of 71 degrees — and a shivery 37 degrees on Sept. 19.
With a little over two inches of rain, Alpena logged half an inch less precipitation than average for the month.
Heavy rain showers on Sept. 23, the rainiest day of the month, accounted for more than half an inch of accumulation, with 1.18 inches falling between Sept. 21 and 26. The month started with another rainy spell, more than an inch filling gutters between Sept. 4 and 7.
Two-thirds of September days saw only a trace amount of rain or no precipitation at all.
Though much of the Midwest will probably get soggy in the next month, Northeast Michigan stands equal chances of experiencing a wetter or drier October than usual, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Sweatshirts and jackets may remain in closets more than usual this month, with NOAA predicting a 60% to 70% chance of warmer-than-usual October temperatures.
NOAA offered no prediction as to residents’ probable enjoyment of bonfires and pumpkin-carving, given the expected warmer temperatures.
With an average amount of rain falling across the Great Lakes Basin in September, most Great Lakes water levels are lower than a year ago but still above their long-term average for October, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Lake Michigan-Huron dropped four inches in the past month and measures 16 inches lower than the average water level one year ago, though still 17 inches higher than the long-term monthly average.
The lake should continue to drop another three inches in the next month, the Army Corps of Engineers forecasts.
In October 1964, Alpena-area residents could hunt for pudding stones and beach glass on expansive local beaches as water levels averaged a measurement nearly four feet lower than present, according to Army Corps of Engineers records.
As weather cools and lake water drops, days continue to grow shorter. Today bursting upon the Alpena horizon at 7:35 a.m., the sun will not make its appearance until 8:11 a.m. by month’s end.
The sun will beat trick-or-treaters to bed on Oct. 31, slipping below its covers by 6:24 p.m. — a full 45 minutes earlier than at present, when outdoors-loving Up Northerners would be wise to appreciate every glimpse of blue sky among orange-and-yellowing leaves.
Julie Riddle can be reached at 989-358-5693, email@example.com or on Twitter @jriddleX.