We are now into the start of the summer season. According to weather lore by today June 10th plant growth is at the same point ever year no matter if it’s a cold start to the growing season or a warm start. Here in Grand Rapids the average mean temperature over the summer season (June, July, August) is 70.6° the warmest was 74.7° in 1921 and the coldest was 65.5° in 1992. Last year was a warm 72.7°. In an average summer Grand Rapids only has 9 days of 90° or warmer (on average Michigan is one of the cooler locations in the summer time) In the Twin Cities the average number is 10 and not that far away in St. Louis, Missouri its 34. While in Buffalo, New York its only 2. The most 90-degree days in G.R. was 37 in 1988, followed by 35 in 1894, 34 in 1931, 32 in 2012, 31 in 1921, 29 in 1901, 28 in 1934 and 27 in 1898. We have reached 100 degrees a total of 32 times in G.R. 100-degree days by decade: 1890s = 5, 1900s = 0, 1910s = 7, 1920s = 1, 1930s = 12, 1940s = 2, 1950s = 1, 1960s = 1, 1970s = 0, 1980s = 1, 1990s = 0, 2000s = 0, 2010s = 2.
On the cold side, Grand Rapids has been as cold as 32° on June 4th 1945. A 33° was recorded on June 11th 1972. 35° June 2nd 1956. 36° June 5th 1945, June 4th 1946,11th 1980 June 1st 1993. 37° June 1st 1897, June 2nd 1910, June 6th 1958, June 2nd 1966, June 9th 1969, 38° June 12th 1903, June 23rd 1918, June 3 1947, June 2nd 1964, June 8th 1998, June 2nd 2003, 39° June 22nd 1992, August 30th 1976. With July’s record low of 41° on July 6th 1983 tell us that Grand Rapids can get rather cold even in the summer time.
A closer look at the warmest summer of 1921. June the coldest day was on the 4th with high of 68° and a cool low of 41° the hottest day was on the 26th with a high of 93° there were 9 days of 90° or better the mean for the month was 73.4° July was a hot one with the hottest temperature reaching 100 on the 5th there were 20 days of 90 or better that July, the coldest low that July was a warm (for Michigan) 58 on July 31st The mean for July 1921 in Grand Rapids was 79.7° for the warmest month on record here in GR. Remember this was before the days of air. August seen a pattern change to somewhat cooler temperatures with a mean of 70.6° that month only seen one 90° and the low for the month was 49° there was one more 90° in September for a total of 31 90° days in that summer. Mookie would have had a field day that summer.
Now for the cold summer of 1992. While June of 1992 was a cold month Grand Rapids did have one hot day that month when on the 17th the temperature shot up to 95° on that day there was a line of thunderstorms that rolled thru mid day so it could have maybe gotten warmer without that line. (I missed that day as I was up at the Sault that day where it was much cooler)the official low for the month was 39° on June 22nd and for the month the mean here in GR was 64.3° July started out with a 2 day “heat wave” when the temperatures did reach highs of 91° on the 1st and 88° on the 2nd July 2nd was the last day of July 1992 with above average temperatures as the rest of the month ever day was below average. (Rocky would have had a field day that summer) the coldest low for the month was 47° and the coldest maximum temperature was 60° on July 23rd the mean for the month was 67.2° (not the coldest that was 2009) August 1992 was also a cold summer month with the record coldest August mean of 65.0° we did have several days that reached the upper 80’s with the warmest being 88° on the 25th the coldest nigh was 43° on the 20th the coldest maximum was 62° on the 27th I will now take a look at the coldest July in recorded history at Grand Rapids and that was July 2009. The mean temperature at Grand Rapids in July of 2009 was only 67.1° it was a month of no extremes while the average high in Grand Rapids in July is around 83° that July the average high was only 77° (more like that of Marquette) and the average low was 57° (also more like that of Marquette) the biggest thing of that July was the warmest it had gotten that month was only 84° (remember the average high here in July is about 83°) That summer both June and August were warmer than July.
The bench mark one for early/mid June heat waves at GR are 1933. In June of 1933 GR had a 7 day “heat wave” starting on June 5th the highs in GR were 87,92,91,97,84 (a break) 93, and 93° But in 1894 during a very dry June there starting on June 9th there was a 18 day “heat wave” that may have been the longest in GR history. In that year starting on June 9th the high in GR was 87,89,93,90,95,96,97, 80 (a cool day) 92,95,90,97,96,88,79 (a jacket day) 94,89, and 91° the heat spilled over into July with the 1st ending up at 90° Over In Lansing they had 3 days in June of 1894 that were 100 or better. The bench mark for summer heat waves was in July of 1936. That will be detailed in a later post.
“I don’t remember the specifics without looking everything up, but this Summer is starting out the way I remember 1988. A lot of sunny, dry hot days lead to even more sunny, sweltering hot days with little to no rain making everything bone dry. Of course the drier it gets, the faster the air can heat up, making mid to late Summer just crazy hot. I think in 1988 we had something like 30 plus 90 degree days. I only remember this because it was the Summer I graduated and spent pretty much the entire Summer at the beach. I guess for all the stats we would have to defer to Slim as to what it was really like that year.”
1988 was much dryer that this year so far. May of this year Grand Rapids had 1.50″ and Lansing had 2.49″ In 1988 Grand Rapids had 1.07″ of rain and Lansing had 0.63″ But in June Grand Rapids only had 0.25″ and Lansing only had 0.20″ in fact between May 16th to July Grand Rapids only received 0.25″ of rain and in Lansing from May 16th to July 14th there was only 0.25″ of rain. 2017 still has a long way to go to come close to 1988. But nice going Barry.
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