The Epic Heat Wave of March 2012

Bill's Blog

The “heat wave” of March 2012 is one of the epic weather events in West Michigan history.  Average high temperatures are in the mid-40s at this time of year and we had temperatures from the mid-70s to mid-80s for 9 consecutive days!

I had March 20 off and I took my kayak to Gun Lake, paddling around the lake and then went swimming at the beach for a few minutes. I had a thermometer with me and got a water temp. at the beach of 64°.  

The warmest day was the 21st. The high temp. of 87° was 40° warmer than average. That was the highest above-average of any day in Grand Rapids history.  By contrast, this year (2020) we’ll be lucky to reach 37°.

Another incredible oddity…one day Traverse City had a low temperature of 67°. That was higher than the previous record high temperature for the date!

That month averaged 15.1° warmer than normal. We had the earliest 80° we’ve ever had on March 14. There were 9 record high temperatures that month and 10 record warm low temperatures.

Heat Wave of March 2012 covered much of N. America

The Heat Wave covered much of North America. The temperature reached 86° at Lake Major, Nova Scotia.  
 
While many liked the early summertime weather, it was a disaster for the fruit industry. The warm air brought the blossoms out way too soon and they were hit by several frosts after that. The worst was a record-tying low temperature of 28 on April 29.° 
 
While many liked the early summertime weather, it was a disaster for the fruit industry. The warm air brought the blossoms out way too soon and they were hit by several frosts after that. The worst was a record-tying low temperature of 28 on April 29.

Fortunately, since 2012, we’ve had a nice string of pretty good years for Michigan fruit-growers. Remember, you can help out our local farmers by purchasing their fruits and vegetables, especially cherries, as they’ve been hurt by foreign competition (that doesn’t have to jump through the hoops that our farmers do).

There are benefits to keeping it cool at this time of year, including keeping the blossoms from coming out too soon and keeping the severe weather to our south in the warmer air (remember we had the EF-3 Dexter, Michigan, tornado on March 16, 2012).

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Weather Tools