People love to talk about the weather. It is usually the first item mentioned in a meeting, “Sorry, I’m late, it’s coming down in sheets out there!,” the go to topic of strangers, “So, cold enough for ya’?,” and it is considered the sign of the demise of a relationship – “Is that all we have left to talk about, darling, is the weather?”
To help you be more fascinating at your next meeting or party, I contacted Brandon Hoving, meteorologist with the National Weather Service, for some fascinating facts and weather trends.
*Statistics based on records dating back 122 years to 1892
Winter Facts for Grand Rapids:
*2nd snowiest winter, with 114.2”. Average snowfall is 73.4”.
*7th snowiest December, 7th snowiest January and 8th snowiest February.
*2nd highest snow depth was on February 18 at 24”. This was a record for February!
*March peak snow depth was 20”, which was a new record for March!
Temperatures for Grand Rapids
January was the 15th coldest
February was the 11th coldest
March was the 4th coldest
December – March (core of winter) was the 4th coldest
~~On March 8, Lake Michigan was 93.29% iced over. This set a new record! The last record was in 1977 at 93.1%.
~~The Great Lakes overall peak ice coverage was 92.19% in early March. This was not a new record, but it was one of the highest recorded (records for this statistic only date back to early 1970’s).
~~Lowest lake level recorded for Lake Michigan was in 2012. The levels have been slowly increasing and continue to date. “Snowy winters help keep the lake levels up.”
Days of Sun:
҉ December – February had an overall average of 21% sunshine. This, according to Hoving, “is the cloudiest time of the year and therefore not unusual.”
҉ Fun Fact – Grand Rapids is the only city that records daily minutes of sunshine anymore. The instruments were decommissioned by the National Weather Service five years ago.
When asked for predictions of future weather, Hoving reported:
▪ Cooler than normal spring for April and May.
▪ End of May/early June we should start to see consistent temperatures of 70 degrees and higher.
▪ “With a prolonged cooler spring,” states Hoving, “the lakes will see a slower start to the warmer temperatures.” Lake July/early August is the time period when Lake Michigan reaches its warmest point, around 65-70 on average.
And what about autumn/winter 2014? “El Nino temperatures will help determine the weather patterns,” says Hoving. “If the ocean temperatures are warmer than normal, then our autumn may be warmer than normal.” However, that prediction will have to wait a few more months.
Until then, we will cherish every ounce of sunshine and every day without snowfall!