The “heat wave” of March 2012 (7 years ago) is one of the epic weather oddities in West Michigan history. Average high temperatures were in the mid-40s and we had temperatures from the mid-70s to mid-80s for 9 consecutive days. This was one of two amazing heat waves that year – the other coming in July, when temperatures soared to 104° in G.R.
I had March 20 off and I took my kayak to Gun Lake, paddling around the lake and then went swimming at the beach for a few minutes. I had a thermometer with me and got a water temp. at the beach of 64° in about 3 feet of water. That was the last day of winter.
The warmest day was the 21st. The high temp. of 87° was 40° warmer than average. That was the highest above-average of any day in Grand Rapids history.
That month was15.1° warmer than average. That was the greatest we’ve been for any month ever in G.R. We had the earliest 80° on March 14. There were nine record high temperatures that month and 10 daily record warmest low temperatures.
While many liked the early summertime weather, it was a disaster for the fruit industry. The warm air brought the blossoms out way too soon and they were hit by several frosts. The worst was a record-tying low temperature of 28 on April 29.
Fortunately, since 2012, we’ve had a nice string of good years for Michigan fruit-growers. There are benefits to keeping it cool at this time of year, including keeping the blossoms from coming out too soon and keeping the severe weather to our south in the warmer air (remember we had the EF-3 Dexter, Michigan, tornado on March 16, 2012).