April 2017 was wet and mild. April 2017 with 6.27” of rain and melted snow was the 6th wettest April in recorded history at Grand Rapids. The 5 wetter years were 1. 2013 with 11.10”2. 1909 with 8.29” 3. 2011 with 7.29” 4 1999 with 6.69” 5. 1947 with 6.33”. On the Temperature side April 2017 was the 7 warmest in Grand Rapids. Here are the top ten 1. 1915 (53.8°) 2. 2010 (53. 6.7°) 3. 1896 (53.6°) 4. 1955 (52.8°) 5. 1921 (52.7°) 6. 1977 (52.0°) 7. 2017 (51.9°) 8. 1899 (51.8°) 8. Tie 1925 (51.8°) 10. 1941 (51.3°) there are several more Aprils with means in the low 50’s the coldest April on record is 37.6° in 1907.
After the first 4 days of May 2017 GR is now at -6.5° and there is a good chance of widespread frost this weekend. While frost and freezing temperatures ares happen temperatures that fall below 30° are not as common the last time it got below 30° in May at GR was on May 13th 2013 with a low of 29° and before that you would have to go back to May 16th 1997 (also 29°) The last time got down to 28° in May was on May 13th 1996. The last time it got down to 27° was on May 13 1946. (note mid May is the time of the Three Chilly Saints)
Here is some weather history over the first 10 days in west Michigan.
1966: A May Day snowstorm drops 4 inches of snow at Lansing.
1929: A snowstorm puts down a slushy coating of 2 to 3 inches of snow across southwest Lower Michigan.
1930: Grand Rapids was struck by a tornado that moved through the factory district on the south part of the city. Four people were injured as many buildings were unroofed. Damage totaled over a million dollars.
1954: Snow falls on three straight days from the 3rd to the 5th across Lower Michigan. Record snowfall on this date includes the 1.3 inches at Grand Rapids.
1959: Muskegon sets a record high of 82 degrees during a string of five straight days over 80 degrees
1928: A tornado destroyed several cottages along Bostwick Lake, about ten miles northeast of Grand Rapids
1895: An early season heat wave peaks with record highs of 96 degrees at Grand Rapids and 92 at Lansing. The 96 degrees at Grand Rapids is a record for so early in the season.
1902: A tornado injures two people and destroys several barns east of Maple Rapids in Clinton County. Another tornado destroys several barns near Tekonsha in Calhoun County.
1947: Cold and snow prevail across Lower Michigan with lows in the upper 20s and highs only in the upper 30s to lower 40s.
1974: Temperatures tumble as cold high pressure builds into Lower Michigan. Record lows on this date include 22 degrees at Lansing, 25 at Grand Rapids and 27 at Muskegon.
1976: A freeze hits Lower Michigan with Grand Rapids and Muskegon setting record lows of 27 degrees.
1880: A tornado destroyed two homes and a barn two miles east of Kalamazoo. No one was injure
1923: A very late season winter storm dropped up to a foot of snow across Lower Michigan. Records were set for May snowfall at many places including Lansing with 11.5 inches, Grand Rapids with 5.5 inches, and Detroit with 6 inches.
1927: About 40 farm buildings are damaged or destroyed as a tornado moved from near Loomis in Isabella County, across southeast Clare County and into Gladwin County. Another tornado destroyed two barns and damaged two homes three miles west of Walk
1902: A snowstorm drops from 1 to 6 inches of slushy snow across Lower Michigan. The four inches of snow at Muskegon is the latest measurable snow on record there
2006: A small weak tornado, determined to be a “landspout” moved through an open field near Schoolcraft in Kalamazoo County, doing no damage.
What kind of stands out over the years the first 10 days on May have had its share of cold and snow and tornadoes.
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