The New Year is upon us so I thought this would be a perfect time to take a look back at some of the averages and extremes for both New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. The charts in the slideshow on the top highlight some of the holiday weather averages and extremes.
There is one notable weather event that jumped out at me. In 1985, on New Year’s Day, a severe ice storm struck southern Lower Michigan as a layer of ice up to one inch thick downed tree limbs and power lines. There were three deaths and eight injuries directly related to the ice storm. Over 430,000 electrical customers were without power, some for as long as 10 days. Total damage was estimated at nearly $50 million.
More recently on New Year’s Eve 2000, the day started with a record 13 inches of snow on the ground. Just one day later on January 1, 2001, 12 inches remained, which is also a record for the greatest snow depth for the day.
Just last year on New Year’s Eve 2010, the temperature climbed all day melting the snow cover. In Grand Rapids the day started with a record warm temperature of 45°, the old record was 39° set in 1904 and tied in 1933. The temperature climbed all day to a high of 55° just as the ball dropped over Grand Rapids. Cold air poured in behind a cold front that passed by in the morning with falling temperatures all day. New Year’s Day started at 55° but the temperature ended up at 19° by the end of the day. That’s a drop of 36 degrees in 24 hours.
This year will be a cold night if you’re out watching the ball drop in Grand Rapids. Look for a few snow showers and temperatures in the mid-20s with wind chill readings in the teens. New Year’s Day will be a bit brutal with highs only in the low 20s and a few snow showers.
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