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Thinking Spring: When is our first 60 degree day? Last inch of snow?

March in West Michigan is packed with ups and downs
Snow beginning to wind down, flowers ready to pop
Posted at 12:57 PM, Mar 14, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-14 13:20:56-04

SPRING IS ONLY DAYS AWAY! — WEST MICHIGAN — Spring is only days away. Earlier sunrises, later sunsets, and trees & flowers getting ready to bloom across West Michigan. But if there's one thing true about Spring in Michigan, it's not a clear-cut switch to warmer weather. When does Spring actually take hold? When can you put the snow boots in storage for the Summer?

Between January 23 and May 17, we gain over 2 minutes of daylight. It's not only extra time in the sun, but the sun's angle as the Earth shifts allows for more direct sunlight, too. Our average temperature is coldest at the end of January at 30° with a sun angle of 28 degrees. By March 20, when the Spring Equinox occurs, average temperatures reach 46° with a sun angle of 47 degrees.

DAYLIGHT GRAPH

Unfortunately, no Spring in Michigan is normal. Grand Rapids sees its first 50° temperature on March 5, its first 60° on March 14, and 70° April 5, on average. So far in 2023, Grand Rapids' first 50° was Valentine's Day, with no 60° days yet. The forecast doesn't show signs of 60° either. In fact, more snow is in the forecast by the weekend.

First warmer days, last measurable snow

This makes it seem like winter is left in the dust by Mid March. On the contrary, Michigan also averages its last 1" or more of snow on March 29, two weeks after its normal first 60° day! In 2022, our last snow fall was March 11. 2023 has recorded 2.8" of snow on March 13, with more in the forecast to end the month.

Temperature Trend

Will we be clear of snow come April? Far from a guarantee. 47% of Aprils on record have recorded 1" or more of snow! Also, out of 120 years of records, there have been 4 years where May recorded 1" or more of snow! Thru Mid April, the outlook indicates we may be dealing with Winter a little longer then when the Equinox indicates. Maybe Punxsatuwney Phil's prediction of a longer Winter wasn't far off.

3 to 4 Week Temperature Outlook