GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Spring in Michigan typically brings a plethora of interesting weather conditions and 2017 has been no exception. Rarely do we receive what is described as an “average” spring.
West Michigan is coming off a winter that featured temperatures that averaged 3.3 degrees warmer than normal, thanks to a February that was the warmest on record.
As expected, the higher temperatures meant less snowfall. West Michigan ending winter with snowfall deficit of nearly 14 inches.
The temperature trend carried over from winter into spring, which is 2.7 degrees above average so far. Like winter, the area experienced fewer snowflakes, with a deficit of 5 inches at this point.
Spring is a month of transition and can sometimes bring summer warmth, winter cold, and snow along with severe thunderstorms. In terms of bitter cold and snow, there hasn’t been much this time around. The most significant one-day snowfall was 2.5 inches on March 13.
The coldest temperature was 12 degrees during the morning of March 12. The cold was ushered in by a significant wind event on March 8 that generated a recorded peak wind gust of 64 mph in Grand Rapids; the average wind speed was slightly faster than 28 mph.
Severe weather season has not been particularly intense this spring, with 54 relatively minor wind and hail incidents.
The colder water of the Great Lakes offer a little buffer to stronger early spring storms. (This will break down a bit as water temperatures warm throughout the summer.)
However on April 10, an EF-1 tornado swept through southeast Kent county and southwest Ionia County, hitting the Tyler Creek Golf and Recreation area near Freeport.
April 10, 2017 storms across West Michigan
April 10, 2017 storms across West Michigan x
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April seemed to be the month with the most dramatic weather. The month finished out with over a half-foot of rainfall and four-tenths of an inch of snow, which placed it as the sixth wettest April on record in Grand Rapids.
It was also warm, leading to plant growth a week ahead of schedule. Temperatures overall finished at 3.9 degrees above average in Grand Rapids, the seventh warmest on record for the city, and 4.2 degrees above average in Muskegon, which is the city’s third warmest on record.
The month of May has not followed the spring trend, though. Temperatures are ending up similar to the month of March, at 0.6 degrees below average. Rainfall was well below average, at -2.47 inches.
Interestingly enough, spring last year was also warmer, wetter and had nearly the same amount of sunshine.