GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many of us to spend our vacation time here in West Michigan, and the weather has cooperated. It has turned out to be a splendid summer so far with sunshine and temperatures running above average.
Pools and beaches have been packed, with summer temperatures running nearly 3 degrees above average and total sunshine a whopping 78%. That’s impressive considering it’s 15% above average. Twenty days this summer have recorded 90% or more sunshine.
We are doing much better than the first six month of last year, when every month recorded below-average sunshine. There was a considerable difference in June sunshine of 35%.
Despite the sunny weather, a month past the summer solstice, many us may have noticed the daylight hours shrinking. So far, West Michigan has lost approximately half an hour of daylight: 20 minutes at sunrise and 12 minutes at sunset.
By Aug. 20, we will have lost 1 hour 38 minutes. Double that by the fall equinox Sept. 22.
It’s quite subtle at first but eventually this loss of daylight leads to the overall cooling throughout the northern hemisphere. As a result, July 26 marks the point when daily average temperatures begin to cool instead of warming, which they have been doing since Jan. 23.
If you’ve been enjoying the weather pattern so far, it appears very little will change for a while. Though it has been a little cooler the past couple of days, another heat spike will arrive this weekend.
The “dog days of summer” will rear their head again with humidity levels surging, especially Sunday into Monday. This could very well push heat indices close to the century mark for the second weekend in a row.
The 8- to 14-day temperature outlook has the heat rolling along to end July and trickling into August.
We are just past the halfway point of summer and we’ve already recorded 13 90 degree days, which is above the average of nine for the entirety of a typical summer.
Considering the latest August forecast from CPC/NOAA, we may rival the summer heat of 2016 and 2018.
We hope you enjoy the remainder of summer because it won’t be too long before we start talking about the changing colors and chances of the first frost.