The Grand Rapids Weather Examiner presents the first in a series from the National Weather Service (NWS) on Winter Weather Preparedness. The week of November 3 through 9 has been declared Winter Hazards Awareness Week in Michigan by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder. All citizens are urged to learn more about protecting themselves, their families, and their homes during the winter season.
Every year in Michigan, people are injured or suffer property damage as a direct result of winter weather. Severe winter weather requires drivers to take extra safety measures. You need to take extra precautions to avoid over-exertion from snow removal. Having your home prepared will keep you safe and self-sufficient during a winter weather emergency. Understanding the winter weather terms will help keep you prepared for the worst that winter brings. You are urged to learn more about protecting yourself, your family and your home during the winter season.
- Sunday - Winter summary from 2012-2013
- Monday - Cold weather and hypothermia
- Tuesday - Winter Weather Safety Tips for home and car
- Wednesday - Winter Survival Kits
- Thursday - Preparing your home for winter emergencies
- Friday - How snow and cold may affect your health
- Saturday - Understanding winter weather terms
Meteorological winter is defined as beginning in December and ending at the end of February. For the winter of 2012-2013, the average temperature was above normal in Southwest Lower Michigan. A colder than normal February could not offset a warmer than normal December and January. However, due to the cooler than normal February, the Winter 2012-2013 season was not as warm as last year’s winter season.
It was a much wetter than normal winter for Southwest Lower Michigan. Muskegon in particular recorded their second wettest winter on record, second only to the winter of 2008-2009.
Southwest Lower Michigan generally received more snowfall than normal this winter, with the exception of the southeast portion of the region (including Lansing). The greatest snowfall amounts (and greatest amounts above normal) were located west of U.S. Highway 131. This pattern is very typical, as several lake effect snow events impacted the region during the winter of 2012-2013.
December was very warm with Grand Rapids observing their fourth warmest on record. December also featured very little snow because of the warmth. Grand Rapids only saw only 7.2 inches of snow. In a typical December 21.9 inches of snow is observed, so we were 14.7 inches below average.
The warm weather continued into January. It was a wet month but the precipitation fell more as rain instead of snow. Most of the snow fell in the last couple of weeks and at the end of the month West Michigan experienced record cold and heavy snow.
As the calendar turned to February, a more typical winter pattern emerged. Temperatures were a bit below average but the snowfall was the real story. The observed snowfall was more than twice the average. In a typical February Grand Rapids sees 14.8 inches of snow. In 2013 the city saw 33.1 inches which is 14.8 inches above normal. In early February a strong storm ought heavy snow. In the middle of February part of West Michigan saw more than a foot of snow. At the end of the month wet and heavy snow blanketed West Michigan
Take the time now to set aside emergency supplies for your home and automobile(s). This includes a first air kit, battery powered radios (including a NOAA All-Hazards Weather Radio), flashlights, extra batteries, matches, blankets or sleeping bags, warm clothes, and non-perishable food. Keep vehicles properly maintained and filled with fuel to avoid being caught in a dangerous situation while traveling.
Remember to always check the latest weather forecast before leaving home, taking noted of any advisories, watches, or warnings for winter weather.
For additional information on a winter weather safety, please see the Michigan Weather Preparedness Page.
The National Weather Service, in conjunction with the Michigan Committee for Severe Weather Awareness, will issue daily information statements this week, offering winter weather safety tips and definitions of winter weather terms.
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