Posted: Jan 20, 2020 / 02:21 AM ESTUpdated: Jan 20, 2020 / 02:21 AM EST
Today and Tomorrow (Jan. 20 and 21) mark the mid-point of winter (temperature-wise). The average high and low temperature for Grand Rapids is now 30/18 and that’s as low as they go. It’ll be a very slow process, but average temperatures will now start to go up. Top pic. from Austin Hamilton.
This pic. from NOAA Coastwatch was just before sunset looking out over Lake Michigan at the Muskegon Channel. You can see two layers of clouds in the distance. There are high level cirrus clouds – the sun will shine through these thin clouds. There are also low clouds where the mid-lake band of snow showers is occurring.
Average temperatures lag the position of the sun by roughly one month. The shortest day of the year is the Winter Solstice (occurred on Dec. 21). On that day the Northern Hemisphere gets the least amount of heat energy from the sun. One month later, we have the coldest average temperatures.
We are gaining daylight at the rate of approx. 2 minutes each day. Today (Mon.) Grand Rapids gets 9 hours and 31 minutes of daylight, a gain of 30 minutes since the Winter Solstice. The amount of daylight increases fastest from February to April. In one month – on Feb. 20, Gr. Rapids will get 10 hours and 47 minutes of daylight – a gain of one hour and 16 minutes.
Up until today, this winter has been very similar to last winter, weatherwise, but in late January, that trend will end. Last year we had the coldest period of winter from Jan. 25-Feb. 1…that’s when the Polar Vortex came south to Michigan. This year the colder air will lift out after a couple days and we’ll be back to our mild pattern as we close out January.