Sunniest, Calmest November in Years

Posted at 10:52 AM, Nov 19, 2012
and last updated 2012-11-19 10:52:11-05

West Michigan has been basking in unusually quiet weather so far this month — a November that will likely end up as the sunniest and calmest in at least a decade.

As of the 18th, Grand Rapids has officially recorded 50% of possible sunshine for the month of November.  You might think that being essentially “half-sunny” isn’t that noteworthy, but you have to compare it to past seasons to understand how unusual it is.  November tends to get into the cloudy season in West Michigan, where over the last ten years, November has only averaged a little over 30% of the possible sunshine.  In fact, only November of 2010 even made it to 40 percent.

Now, it’s likely that the overall numbers may slip a little bit before the end of the month, but it will only take approximately four “mostly sunny” days out of the remaining twelve to top the 40% mark.

In addition to being a generally cloudy month, November has a reputation for being windy (a la the famous ‘gales of November’).  But 2012 has produced a relatively calm month so far as well.  The average wind speed for the month has been 7.0 mph, much lower than last year’s 10.3 mph.  The average over the last decade has been 9.7 mph, with the least windy in that time being 2009 (7.8 mph).

Grand Rapids has only seen three days this November with average wind speeds above 10 mph, compared to eight by this time last year (16 overall for the month).  It makes 2012 seem like a far cry from a month like November 2005 — that month didn’t have ANY days with an average wind speed of less than 8 mph, and 21 windy days of 10+ mph.  November 2005 also brought nearly a foot and a half of snow to Grand Rapids!

While we don’t have as much sun around for your Monday, we’ll still see very light winds around West Michigan.  The rest of the week leading up to Thanksgiving looks fairly quiet as well.  However, it is still November, and some more unsettled weather will arrive for the end of the week.

You can check out the updated forecast on the Weather page.

Photo: Gen Sterenberg – a calm Grand River looking over the North Park bridge.