We’re right at the mid-point of winter (temperature-wise). The average high/low is now 31/18 for Grand Rapids. Average high temperatures reach the mid-upper 30s by the end of February and the low 50s by the end of March.

The second half of winter is the brighter half. Our percent of possible sunshine goes up a little each month now, until we reach a peak in July…and the amount of daylight we receive is increasing. At the Winter Solstice, Grand Rapids receives 9 hours and 30 seconds of daylight. Today (Thu.) we’re up to 9 hours and 32 minutes. By Feb. 1, the length of day in G.R. is 9 hours and 58 minutes. On Feb. 15, we get 10 hours and 34 minutes of daylight and by March 1, we’re up to 11 hours and 14 minutes. Temperatures lag the position of the sun by around one month.

8-14 Day Temperature Outlook from the Climate Prediction Center

I’ve been putting this graphic on the blog a lot, because I think it’s been right and has a good handle on long-range weather. This is the 8-14 Day Outlook from the Climate Prediction Center for Jan. 27 – Feb. 2. Once again, it has the Great Lakes and West Michigan “in the blue” – meaning a good chance of cooler than average weather. I think the next couple weeks may turn out to the the coldest 2 or 3-week period of the winter, with temperatures moderating a bit around mid-February. I think this late-winter/spring will be an active period for severe weather…starting in the South. More on that at a later date.

Winter Weather Advisory for far S. Texas

There’s a Winter Weather Advisory for the southern tip of Texas. The freezing rain and sleet will extend across the Rio Grande River into Mexico.

Solar Flare (on the right side of the sun – image from the Solar Dynamics Observatory

A massive M5.5-class solar flare occurred on the sun (right side of the solar image above) yesterday. It probably produced a coronal mass ejection. Sometimes these can produce an uptick in the Aurora Borealis. You can check www.spaceweather.com for updates. As I type this, the sunspot count is 57.

ALSO: The one day it snowed in Miami FL. That day the low temp. was 1 in Atlanta, 18 in Houston and 19 in New Orleans. It’s a cold day in Japan with 74% of all the weather stations [913] below 0°C (32/F) at 7 am. The coldest station was Shumarinai at -17.8F. Heavy snow was falling on the coast of the island of Honshu. The first relief flights have landed in Tonga. Volcanic ash had to be cleared from the airport. January may end with no significant rainfall in California. Heavy snow will fall in NC and VA. Heavy snowfall in Syria. Frost flowers in Illinois. Double rainbow. Lake-effect clouds in S. Dakota. On Feb. 9, 1963, at Mile 47 Camp in Alaska, 78 inches of snow fell in just 24 hours. That’s a U.S. record 24 hour snowfall. Halo and sundogs. Almost all of the snow at the Winter Olympics in China will be artificially made from 50 million gallons of water. Canada is the world’s coldest country@ -5.35C. Russia is #2.