December sure didn’t end the way it started. The first five days of the month brought high temperatures between 50° and 61° in G.R.. The last 6 days had high temps. between 11° and 18°. Overall the month ended with an average temp. of 24.2° and that was 4.8° colder than average. It was the 2nd month in a row with below average temperatures and January is certainly starting that way. Four of the last five days of the month saw temps. below zero in the early AM.
G.R. had 32.9″ of snow during December. Much of our snow was lake-effect, from the cold, Arctic air coming over the relatively warmer waters of Lake Michigan. So, there was significantly more snow at the lakeshore than well inland from the lake. Muskegon had a whopping 51.7″ of snow (22.8″ above average), ending the month with 17″ of snow on the ground (the snow compacts, so 12″ of snowFALL doesn’t always equate to 12″ of snowCOVER). Inland, Lansing had 17.4″ (still 4.4″ above average). G.R. had 17 days with measurable snow, the most was 7″ on Christmas Day. Other Dec. snowfall totals: Hart 45.6″, Bloomingdale 43.2″, Augusta 35.4″, Socttville 34.3″, Kalamazoo 33.7″, Fremont 32.0″, Hastings 29.5″, Charlotte 22.7″, Grand Ledge 17.2″, Big Rapids 16.4″. Dec. snow in the U.P: 75.0″ Delaware, 64.2″ at Munising, 48.9″ at Bergland Dam, 46.2″ at Ironwood, 44.9″ at Herman, 38.0″ at Marquette.
Clouds ruled the month of December, the “stratus quo” as I call it. We had just 22% of possible sunshine. Twenty days had 12% of less of possible sunshine. The average wind speed was 9.9 mph with a peak gust of 52 mph on the 5th.
It was a cold month for the entire state of Michigan and all the Great Lakes, as you can see on this map from the Michigan St. Climatologist Office. Temperature departures from average in Dec: -5.4° S. Ste. Marie, -4.8° Flint, -4.7° Gaylord and Marquette, -4.6° Alpena, -4.3° Lansing, -4.2° Houghton Lake, -4.0° Muskegon, -3.5° Detroit, -2.8° Kalamazoo.