January 2008 Climate Narrative
By William Marino and David Beachler
January 2008, for southwest Lower Michigan, will go down in the record
books as being warmer, wetter and snowier than normal. While that is
true, January 2008 was not as warm as January 2007 or 2006. For all of
southwest Lower Michigan, the mean temperature of 25.8 degrees was
3.9 degrees warmer than normal. This is 1.6 degrees cooler than January
2007 and 7.8 degrees cooler than January 2006.
The warmer than normal temperatures were heavily weighted towards
the 5th through the 7th (see fig. 21, 22, 23). Over the course of these three
days, temperatures averaged 25 to almost 35 degrees above normal.
High temperatures on the 6th and 7th, soared into the 50s and 60s for
most of the area. The high of 63 degrees in Grand Rapids on the 7th was
the warmest value in January since the 66 degree high on January 25th
of 1950. Lansing reached 62 degrees and Muskegon 58 degrees on the
7th. Beyond the middle of the month, temperatures fell to more seasonal
levels with cooler air prevailing. This resulted in temperatures at or
below freezing from the 18th through the 27th. In fact, after the 16th, it
snowed every day except for the 28th. Winter came back full force.
Several major snow storms occurred during this time.
Precipitation amounts for January 2008 (fig. 1a) in southwest Lower
Michigan were significantly higher than normal (fig. 1b). It was also the
4th consecutive winter with above normal precipitation. The mean area
precipitation was 3.47 inches, which was 1.49 inches above the 1971 to
2000 mean of 1.98 inches. For much of southwest Lower Michigan,
precipitation was observed almost every day of the month. Muskegon
and Grand Rapids had only 2 dry days. There were 25 days with
measurable precipitation at Muskegon and Grand Rapids had 24 days
with measurable precipitation.
Throughout the month, the most common storm track was south of
Michigan. This resulted in most of the precipitation falling as snow