WEST MICHIGAN — There are many folks that believe we’ve only seen (literally) a handful of inches of snow thus far this season. We’ve been nickled and dimed, and even had two sizable events of 11.2″ (last week), 7.4″ (this week), and 4.7″ (in January).
The National Weather Service keeps all the climate data and information for West Michigan. They don’t personally tally the snow, but they do keep records for some of the major cities. Let’s begin with Grand Rapids.
As of March 3 Grand Rapids has tallied 49″ of snow for the season. A normal season would have already yielded 66″. That’s a deficit of -17″!
Muskegon has seen 58.3″ this season. Normal snowfall would have been 83.7″ at this point in the year. That’s a deficit of -25.4″.
The other major climate station is Lansing. They’ve picked up 40.8″ thus far. Normal is 43.1″…so not nearly as defined a difference as the areas closer to the lakeshore. Lansing deficit is only -2.3″
Keep in mind this has been a strong El Nino year…where warmer equatorial Pacific Ocean waters move east toward Central and North America and change/drive the upper air patterns that affect weather. Typically, we see warmer winters and less snow in the winter here in the Great Lakes during strong El Nino years. It will be interesting to see what our final tallies will be by the end of the season. We’ve still got a solid month or more of winter left, but a huge warm up arrives next week which will propel temperatures in to the 40s, 50s, 60s respectively. Looks like the warmer temps may stick around for a while too. Check out the eight to 14 day extended outlook from the Climate Prediction Center here.
The image attached to this story was submitted to my Facebook page by Tammy Resner Chapin. Taken in Orangeville Township in Barry County…pretty much ground zero for the heavy snow that occurred this week with 14″ reported in Delton and Hastings.
You can always get the complete forecast at www.fox17online.com/weather.