GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — This spring has been an active one in West Michigan with a steady train of clippers and large upper-level low pressure systems rolling through the area. Every time we have an area of low pressure travel through the surface, pressure readings on our weather stations will drop.

Standard pressure is measured in inches. On Thursday, March 31, one viewer noticed their home weather station dropped to 29.00″, something they had not seen before. This prompted the question of how rare a drop like this typically is for our area.

What is normal for our area?

Grand Rapids climatology shows our highest pressure level recorded was a whopping 31.07″, set on January 26, 1927. The lowest pressure reading ever recorded at the Grand Rapids station happened on January 26, 1978 in conjunction with the Great Blizzard of ’78!

The fact that Grand Rapids’ highest and lowest pressures were recorded on the 26th of January is a fun coincidence. Frequently, Grand Rapids sees a pressure reading of 29.92″; which is considered the average surface pressure for the globe.

How rare was a reading of 29.00″?

The pressure reading of 29.00″ was fairly rare. In fact the National Weather Service in Grand Rapids, Michigan reported a reading of 28.99″ from that same storm. It was the lowest pressure they recorded since December 9, 2009! The pressure from that day dropped to a whopping 28.87″.

What are the lowest pressures worldwide?

I have to give credit to Christopher Burt for the following pressure statistics. He found some of the lowest lows across our country.

Courtesy Cristopher Burt

The 28.23″ report from the Ohio Valley was recorded in 1978 in Michigan, by the way! Often the highest and lowest pressures are experienced in Michigan in the winter, spring, and fall. Rarely do we see the strongest systems in summer.