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Wrapping up the 2016-2017 West Michigan winter

Posted at 6:52 PM, Mar 20, 2017

WEST MICHIGAN - While Monday is the first day of spring for most of us, it's not for meteorologists. Meteorologists measure winter from Dec. 1 to March 1.

Of course, most of us go off the astronomical calendar which is based on where the sun is overhead. According to that, it's officially springtime in Michigan.

Measuring from Dec. 1 to March 1, Grand Rapids is sitting at 59.7 inches, down a little over 10 inches from the average 71.   

Last year, Grand Rapids was at 52 at the end of meteorological winter. However, adding in April 2016 snow totals capped off at 61. A good reminder that it's Michigan, so don't put the snow shovels away just yet.

       

The start to the 2016-2017 winter season was cold and snowy with below normal temperatures and more snow than usual.The cold combination allowed ski resorts and winter attractions across West Michigan to open early.


Those cold and snowy December days didn't last long. The day after Christmas, West Michigan saw record-breaking December heat.

The above average temperature trend continued right through January and into February. The warm winter was bad for snow sports, but great for spring ones. Multiple golf courses were able open in the middle of winter.

So how did winter 2016-2017 measure up? Take a look at these satellite images showing the past three winters. 

There was a drastic difference between 2015 and 2017, which is actually a good thing for springtime flooding. Because of the lack of snowpack and ice, West Michigan does not need to worry about ice dams.

So what's next for West Michigan? Meteorologists at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center focus on long-term climate trends and put Michigan in the above average category for temperature for the next three months.