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Remembering the Groundhog Day Blizzard of 2011

Posted at 6:23 PM, Feb 02, 2019

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.  — Saturday marked the eight-year anniversary of the historic Groundhog Day Blizzard, which dumped 17.2 inches of snow in Grand Rapids.

FOX 17 file image

Former Mayor George Heartwell held an impromptu news conference at City Hall to relay efforts the city was making to dig out from the storm, which left many roads impassable. Then-City Manager Greg Sundstrom told FOX 17 after the blizzard, “We cannot send people over and try to get one street at a time. We’re following a route, trying to sweep across the city. That’s the most efficient way for us to try to clear the streets. And we’re going to stick with that, until we make at least one full pass.”

The Groundhog Day Blizzard of 2011 didn’t match the Great Blizzard of 1978, but it still  impacted much of the Southwest United States, the Midwest and Eastern and Atlantic Canada. According to Wikipedia, some parts of Illinois had up to 28 inches of snow, with winds surpassing 60 miles per hour. Many areas had significant ice accumulation, as well.

Several universities closed in Michigan.

For perspective, FOX 17 meteorologist Kevin Craig posted after the 2011 blizzard a few snowfall totals from the 1978 blizzard:

  • 33.8 inches in Muskegon
  • 30.0 inches in Bloomingdale
  • 28.0 inches in Grand Haven
  • 24.0 inches in Kalamazoo and Battle Creek
  • 19.5 inches in Grand Rapids and Holland just to name a few