December Only 2 Degrees Colder Than November

Bill's Blog

In Grand Rapids, the average temperature for the month of December (32.5°) was only 2.1° colder than the average temperature for the month of November.  November was 5.5° warmer than average and December was 3.3° colder than average.  Note – if you combine Nov. and Dec., Grand Rapids was about 1° cooler than average.  With the average temperature for Dec. slightly above the freezing point of 32.0°, you can see why we’ve had a hard time getting ice to form on the lakes.

This is how Lake Michigan looked off Chicago on Dec. 31, 2017 – about one year ago.  This December was 8.1° warmer in Grand Rapids than December 2018.  Last year the period from Christmas to New Years was very cold, with high temperatures beginning on the 26th of 11-14-14-18-15 and 12.  The low temperatures over than 6 day stretch averaged -5°.

This was the scene Jan 1, 2018 at the Muskegon Channel – that day the high temp. in G.R. was just 15°.  We actually went 12 days without reaching 20°.  Last winter we had 32.9″ of snow in December in G.R. Muskegon had 51.7″ of snow last December – only 3.2″ this December.  Last winter Muskegon had a trace of snow on ever day from Dec. 21 to Jan. 8. 

This was sunset at S. Haven on Christmas Eve (2018).  Note no ice…or snow.  Sunshine was hard to come by in December.  Grand Rapids recorded just 13% of possible sun – better than the 9% in November but well below the average of 20%.  Grand Rapids had only one day with more than 70% sunshine, only 4 days with more than 35% sun and 17 days had not a minute of sun at all.  In fact, 24 of the 31 days of December had less than 10% sunshine.  

Also in December in G.R., the average wind speed was 8.9 mph.  That made last June (9.3 mph) windier than this December.  The average humdity was 78%. We had 1.99″ of precipitation, which was 0.51″ below average.  The most rain came on the last day of the month (0.56″).  The 3.2″ of snow was 18.7″ below the average monthly snow of 21.9″.  What’s odd is that we had at least a trace of snow on 16 days, but we had measurable snow on just 5 of those days.  We did not have a single report of heavy snow or even moderate snowfall during December. 

Snowfall Weds. totaled 0.9″ officially in G.R. – bringing the season total to 18.4″.  Muskegon recorded 2.0″ bringing the season total there to 17.7″.  Some season snowfall totals from the U.P.:  Tamarack 127.3″, Delaware 111″, Calumet 105″, Herman 98.4″, Painesdale 96.2″, Mohawk 94″.

This is halfway up Old Mission Peninsula, just north of Traverse City.  Traverse City has officially 5″ of snow on the ground…there’s a little more here on the peninsula.  Snow on the ground:  1″ Grand Rapids, 2″ Muskegon, 3″ Hart and Scottville, 5″ Cadillac, 6″ Sault Ste. Marie, Gaylord and Petoskey, 7″ Alpena, East Jordan and Mio, 8″ Benzonia and Munising, 9″ Grayling (most in Lower Michigan), 11″ Ironwood, 12″ Grand Marais, 15″ Marquette Airport (there’s usually less downtown), 16″ Hancock, 22″ Painesdale, 23″ Kearsarge, 24″ Mohawk, 30″ Tamarack (this is from the road commission – closest town of any size is Calumet).  It was cold Wed. AM in the U.P. with lows of -18 at Wakefield and -16 at Ironwood.  Cadillac cleared out the temp. dropped to -4°.

Nationally, the warmest spot Wed. was Naples FL with a high of 88° – the coldest was Antero Reservoir CO with a low of -35°.  Freezing rain and snow fell across parts of Oklahoma and N. Texas.  Waco TX had 2.5″ of rain with temps. from 33° to 36°.  2.2″ fell at Austin with a temp. no warmer than 39°.  Yakutat AK has 37″ of snow on the ground. 

Here’s high temperatures Wed. in the U.S.  The Southeast was warm, but much of the rest of the U.S. was cool to cold.

Here’s high temperatures from today – Monday – well above average.  We’d call this the January thaw, but we don’t have a lot ot thaw out.   If it’s sunny and mid-upper 40s on Saturday, I bet there will be a few golfers out.  The snow will be gone by then.  Happy Thursday! 

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