Warm winter weekend

Becky Vargo • Feb 20, 2017 at 8:00 AM

Record-setting warm temperatures drew thousands of people outside over the weekend and the 50-plus degree temperatures should continue through Thursday.

Grand Rapids broke the 56-degree record set in 2011 on both Feb. 18 and 19, according to Jim Maczko, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Rapids.

High temperatures recorded at Ford International Airport were 59 on Saturday and 61 on Sunday, he said.

As of 5 p.m. Sunday, the 57-degree record high recorded in Muskegon in 1954, had been tied on both Saturday and Sunday, Maczko said.

Average temperatures for this time of the year along the lakeshore are about 34 degrees.

Tom Lee, manager of the Fruitport Golf Center, 6240 Harvey St., Muskegon, said business was steady at the driving range all weekend.

“We just opened because of the nice weekend weather,” he said. “Last year we opened the 12th of March. There was still snow on the ground on March 5.

Grand Haven High School senior Logan Dault, a member of the high school golf team, said it was really nice to get out this early in the season.

“We start indoor practice in March,” he said in between swings at the balls. “Last year we didn’t get outside until April and it was still really cold.”

Next to Dault, Roger DeYoung and three of his teenage children also hit some balls.

“We were actually sitting on the deck soaking up the sun, not doing anything,” DeYoung said. “We decided to pick up and come here.”

The parking lot and bike rack were full at Sunnyside Park in Ferrysburg.

Phil Bacalia watched as his younger daughter, Emma, 8, ran around the playground with some other children.

His daughter, Lily, 9, was content to sit on the park bench and soak up some sun with him. 

Bacalia said it’s normal for the family to go to the park, although not so much in February.

“The kids get so stir crazy in the winter,” he said. “How do you not take advantage of this?” 

Nearby, Trent Sievertsen, 11, Jackson Pigott, 9 and Collin Rea, 9, took down their brightly colored hammock, jumped on their bicycles and rode back home.

On another bench, Luke Soave, 14, Liam Sandy, 13 and Jack Moser, 13, munched on snacks purchased at the neighborhood store, The Reef.

Sandy said they are out on their bikes often, as long as there is no snow.

Grand Haven native Matt Vanopynen, now of Holland, along with his wife, Amanda, daughter Emma, 3, and their dog, Bella, enjoyed a walk out on the pier so that Matt could go fishing. 

“We fish all year long,” Matt said. “It’s just a bonus that we have this nice weather.” 


Monday was expected to be another really nice day with highs in the 55-60 degree range, Maczko.

Temperatures will remain in the 50s this  week with a chance of rain Monday night.

A weather system moves in Friday, which could mean the return of more winter-like temperatures, he said.

There might be some rain during the weekend, with the possibility of a little light snow on Sunday.

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