GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — March is here and that means meteorological spring has arrived. In West Michigan, it often seems March is just another extension of winter — but maybe not this year.
No doubt the first day of March was in like a lamb. The beautiful sunshine accompanied with above-average temperatures might be a hint of the type of month that will follow.
Check out the first “sky’s on fire” sunset of March captured by Beau Swanson:
All that sunshine Sunday helped propel temperatures well above average into the 50s in most locations. This was the third 50-degree high temperature in Grand Rapids this year.
Average highs in the beginning of March start out in the the 30s. Over the course of the month, we gain another 1 hour and 28 minutes of daylight and with the increased sun angle average, temperatures climb as well. By month’s end, average high temperatures exceed 50 degrees.
Not only do averages spiral up but West Michigan typically gets to enjoy the warmth of the first 60 degree reading. The average date of this is March 10.
An increase of sunshine during March also helps leave behind the frequent gray days of winter. We go from a winter average of only 27% sunshine to 48% in March. This winter was particularly dismal, with less than 23% sunshine.
Even with temperatures and sunshine going up, we will still see a few snowflakes fly. It appears though that winter’s snowfall deficit of nearly 17 inches will expand in March.
Normally, we have to shovel a little more than an average of 8 inches March. Oddly enough, even though four of the past five years and seven of the last 10 have been colder than average, only one year, 2016, recorded more snow than average. It appears this year may follow that trend. You can see why below.
The 8- to 14-day temperature outlook and monthly outlook have temperatures well above average across the Great Lakes.
The Climate Prediction Center recently updated its March monthly temperature guidance from colder than average temperatures across much of the southeastern U.S. to this:
This would indicate we may not have to wait until March 28 for the first 60 and April 21 for the first 70 to occur, like we did last year.
Even though I enjoy snow through the winter season, I also enjoy the first signs of spring when the flowers dare to peak out after a long winter’s slumber. This year they may not wait as long.