Last gasp for Old Man Winter?

The 3.5 inches of snow that fell Monday morning was the second most on that date in local history, according to the National Weather Service office in Grand Rapids.
Marie Havenga
Mar 25, 2014

You’d have to go all the way back to March 24, 1951, to find a higher snowfall total. That’s the day 4 inches fell in the area.

We’re also riding record chills. The normal high for this time of year is 46. The temperature topped out at 28 on Monday, making it the third-coolest “high” temperature ever recorded for March 24.

“When you look at the winter as a whole, we started this streak of colder-than-normal temperatures in November and December,” weather bureau meteorologist Brandon Hoving said. “It’s kind of been more of a long-term pattern that we’ve had. It’s definitely unusual to see highs in the 20s at the end of March.”

This area’s coldest-ever high temperature on Monday’s date was 17 set in 1974.

This month has averaged 20.9 degrees, compared to 29.98 last year and 48.2 in 2012.

Think back to two years ago. By mid-March, the mercury had soared into the 80s. Residents were walking the beach, riding bikes and wearing shorts.

By this time that year, the highs had “cooled” into the 60s and it fell to 48 that night. Pity our poor former selves who probably felt chilled.

What a difference two years make. Today’s forecast calls for a high of 25 with snow flurries in the afternoon. Another round of light snow with up to an inch accumulation is rolling in Wednesday night through Thursday.

“It’s been a very long winter,” Hoving said. “Quantifying it, it’s definitely one of the longest we’ve had. Here it is the third week of March and we’re still getting snow.”

With the season’s first recordable snow falling on Oct. 24, we’ve had more than five months of snowfall, which is close to another record. In the winter of 1963-64, snow first fell on Oct. 6 and last fell on April 1.

“We’re not quite done yet, unfortunately,” Hoving said. “I don’t think anyone wants to see snow any more. I’ll just speak for everyone and say we’re ready for it to be done.”

Wednesday night’s snow could possibly be the last of the season. Highs will climb into the 40s Thursday through Saturday, and into the 50s by Sunday or Monday.

Hoving said he can’t wait to hit the golf course.

“Normally, I like to golf in April, but I think there’s still going to be some snow out there on the courses,” he said. “It may take a while for that to melt off. First, we have to melt off all that snow, then the ground has to thaw, then things can start growing. It’s going to take some time. It may be toward the end of April before I can golf.”

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