2019 Was Cool, Cloudy and Very Wet

Bill’s Blog

Posted: Jan 8, 2020 / 02:11 AM EST Updated: Jan 8, 2020 / 02:12 AM EST

This is the Belknap-Lookout Apartment Building that had its roof taken off during the severe thunderstorm that occurred the evening of Sept. 11, 2019. The wind here was estimated to be 100 mph. This was straight-line wind, but equivalent to a high-end EF-1 tornado.

Overall the weather of 2019 can be described as cloudy, cool and very wet. We set a record for precipitation in a calendar year in Grand Rapids with 51.37″. That was 13.10″ above average. In 2018, 44.45″ of precipitation occurred and that was 6.18″ above average. So, that gives us a two-year period that was 19.28″ above average. No wonder we have problems with high water levels on Lake Michigan.

We had 177 days (nearly half) with measurable precipitation (0.01″ or more). The average # is 145, so that was 32 days above average. We had 10 days with over an inch of precipitation midnight-to-midnight and that was 2.3 days above the average of 7.7 days. The most rain in a 24-hour period was 2.56″ on 9/22-23. We had 38 days with thunderstorms.

Snowfall was above average with 84.8″. The average for G.R. is 74.9″ – so we were 9.9″ above average. We didn’t get any really big snowstorms. The greatest midnight-midnight snowfall was 5.5″ on November 11th. We had 25 days with an inch or more of snow in G.R. The greatest snow depth was 14″ on 1/30 (the second day of the polar vortex). The greatest snowfall total in a calendar year was 143.7″ in 2008. The greatest snow depth in G.R. was 27″ after the blizzard of 1/26/78.

We had 39% of possible sunshine. The annual average is 42%. The only months with above average sunshine were July and August.

The average high temperature for 2019 was 56.8°. That was 1.2° cooler than average. The average low temperature was 40.1° and that was 0.2° cooler than average. So, the average was 48.5° and that was 0.6° cooler than average. I know…you think it would be 0.7° instead of 0.6°, but -0.6° is the official number.

We had 7 days that reached 90°, all of them in July and none higher than 92°. The coldest temperature was -10 on 1/31. We had 6 days when it got below zero. The average is 3.9 days. We had one record daily high temperature on Dec. 26 and two record lowest high temps. of +2° and +4° on 1/30 and 1/31 when the polar vortex passed through.

The average wind speed was 9.4 mph with the peak gust a very healthy 69 mph on July 20 (when we had an 80 mph gust in Jenison). The average relative humidity for the year was 71%. We had 3 days with at least a little freezing rain and 19 days with at least an hour of heavy fog.