The top pic. is snow in my backyard late Monday afternoon. I’ve got about 8″ on the ground here.

U.S Snow Cover

We have 45.8% of the contiguous U.S. with a snow cover. The 20-year average percent snow cover on January 30 is 40.2% The 45.8% figure is 5th highest out of those 20 years. The highest percent snow cover was 58.8% in 2010 and the least was 24.3% in 2015.

From Dec. 27 – Jan. 21 – Grand Rapids got only 0.7″ of snow. Then from Jan. 22 – 30, we got 12.7″ of snow. We’ve now had measurable snow nice days in row.

Monday was the first colder than average (midnight-to-midnight) day we’ve had since December 27th. That’s over a month! We had a string of 33 days – one day was exactly average and 32 days were warmer than average. This week could be the coldest week of the winter, or 2nd coldest behind Dec. 21-27.

For inland areas, this (Tue.) morning is the coldest morning of the winter so far. Temperatures have fallen a little below zero at Ionia (-5) and Mt. Pleasant (-6). Entrican in Montcalm Co. recorded -9 and Mecosta near Big Rapids dipped to -14. At the lakeshore, it’s been (relatively) warmer with temperatures holding up in the low-mid teens. Benton Harbor had a low of 16, so the difference across West Michigan was 30 degrees (from Mecosta to Big Rapids.

What a cloudy winter we’re having! Over the last 15 days (that’s half a month!) Grand Rapids has had just 2.73% of possible sunshine. That does not include today (Tue.).

This is one of the most difficult places to make solar energy work during the winter…and I say that with 30+ years of having solar panels on my house. They might say “this solar farm can power 500 homes”…but keep in mind most of the time it’s powering zero homes.

During that stretch only one day had more than 5% sun. This month, we’ve had 19 days with zero sunshine and only one day with more than 60% sun (and that day it stayed cloudier in the lakeshore counties. For the month of January, we’re at 6.2% sunshine. The record lowest percent of sunshine for January is 6%, the average is 22%.

We had 12% sunshine in December (average is 19%). So, combining December and January, we get 9.1% sunshine. I don’t have figures in front of me here at home, but I’d guess we’re right at the top for cloudiest winters. Time for my daily vitamin D.

I spent much of my weekend in Dallas. DFW had a high temperature of 70 on Saturday. We had dinner outside. I took the pic. above of a magnolia in blossom. Dallas had a cold front come through Sunday morning. The temperature fell from 53 at 8 am to 42 at 9 am – and all the way down to 32 by 7 pm. The high temperature there on Monday was 29 and they had freezing drizzle much of the day.

Brownsville Texas had a high temp. of 82 on Monday, by 2:15 am it was 52 with fog and mist. Temperatures there should hold around 50 today and tomorrow (Wed.) it’s possible they might not get above 40 during the afternoon. Then they rebound back to the 70s next weekend.