CMU's five forgettable frozen facts

Winter weather one for the record books
Winter at CMU

March Madness 2014 equates to sunshine and warmer temperatures at Central Michigan University as students, faculty and staff are winter weary.

March roared in like a lion, and the lion is sticking around with more arctic weather on the way.

Ahmad Bajjey, CMU senior meteorology major and a meteorologist with WEYI-TV in Clio, says enjoy the occasional 40-degree day this month, but don't get too excited. More snow is headed our way.

“We usually get at least one good snowstorm in March, and that would be in line with this whole winter,” Bajjey said. “It’s been extremely snowy. My bet is we’ll even get a little bit of snow in April.”

Bajjey put together a list of five things we wish we could forget about this brutal winter:

1. We haven't seen the grass since early December.

“Usually we get a warm spell in January where the snow melts,” Bajjey said. “But because the temperatures have been so low, all the snow that fell stuck around.”

The Flint area, where he works for NBC 25, broke a record for consecutive days with snow on the ground — 88 and counting. It's a similar number for Mount Pleasant.

“People say, 'All the cold, all the snow, all the shoveling — make it stop!' The good news is this brutal winter has created the most ice cover on the Great Lakes in more than 20 years putting a halt to big lake-effect snow storms,’ Bajjey says.

2. This has been the sixth coldest winter ever recorded at CMU.

The average temperature in Mount Pleasant from the beginning of December to the end of February was 17.8 degrees, Bajjey says — the sixth coldest winter on record in Mount Pleasant, and the wind chill dipped to as low as 40 degrees below zero.

“I'd see students in class with red noses — that's the beginning of frostbite,” Bajjey says. “When the temperature is in the negative teens with 10 to 15 mile per hour winds, frostbite sets in between 10 and 15 minutes.”

His classmates should know better, he says. CMU is the only university in Michigan that offers an undergraduate degree in meteorology.

3. CMU is America's 25th snowiest university on The Weather Channel's list of the country's top 25 snow-covered colleges. The ranking is based on CMU's average annual snowfall of 55.2 inches.

But wait a minute. Bajjey reports this year's snowfall is 32.6 inches. That's far from a record-breaker. This was only the 22nd snowiest winter on record, he says. But because the snow hasn't left us for months, it seems snowier.

4. Getting to class this winter took strategic planning.

“I'd look at a campus map and figure out what way I could go with little jogs from building to building,” Bajjey says. “Mount Pleasant is notoriously windy because it's so flat.”

His top two areas of campus where the winds howl the fiercest — across Broomfield between the McGuirk Arena and East campus and Preston between Park Library and the University Center.

“The wind comes through there like a tunnel,” Bajjey says. “So it feels even colder.”

5. We're not done yet. Keep your parka handy.

“The temperature will stay below normal until the end of March,” Bajjey forecasts. “Our normal highs are in the 40s right now and lows are in the upper 20s. We're not there yet. It's going to take a while for the system to get back to normal.”

So how does a meteorologist deal with his frosty forecasts?

“Hey, I'm on both sides,” Bajjey said. “I'm the one behind the camera delivering the bad weather news, but I'm also a regular person trying to survive it. When it’s cold, I’d prefer to be under a blanket by a fire with hot chocolate.”