Winter 2011-12 Review...Unseasonably Mild

A winter void of any sustained Arctic outbreaks resulted in exceptionally mild conditions across northern Michigan, with all sites reporting one of their top 5 warmest winters on record.

Mild conditions led to well below normal snowfall, especially in the favored lake effect regions.  The one exception was Houghton Lake, which seemed to be in the perfect location for heavy snow with passing storm systems.

Winter Temperature Data:

Sault Ste Marie (1888 - 2012)

Winter Mean

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Record Warm/Year

Record Cold/Year

24.5

18.4 

+6.1

3rd Warmest

25.7 / 2001-02

7.6 / 1917-18

 

Houghton Lake (1919 - 2012)

Winter Mean

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Record Warm/Year

Record Cold/Year

27.0

20.7

+6.3

4th Warmest

28.7 / 1931-32

13.3 / 1976-77

 

Alpena (1916 - 2012)

Winter Mean

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Record Warm/Year

Record Cold/Year

27.0

21.5

+5.5

4th Warmest

28.8 / 1931-32

12.6 / 1917-18

 

Traverse City Airport (1897 - 2012)

Winter Mean

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Record Warm/Year

Record Cold/Year

30.0

23.6 

+6.4

2nd Warmest 

30.9 / 1931-32

15.2 / 1978-79

 

Gaylord Airport (1951 - 2012)

Winter Mean

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Record Warm/Year

Record Cold/Year

24.5 

19.5

+5.0

3rd Warmest

26.3 / 2001-02

13.8 / 1993-94

 

 

Winter Precipitation Data (inches):

Sault Ste Marie (1888 - 2012)

Precipitation

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Record Wettest/Year

Record Driest/Year

5.98

6.32

-0.34

N/A

12.49 / 1995-96

2.37 / 1904-05

 

Houghton Lake (1919 - 2012)

Precipitation

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Record Wettest/Year

Record Driest/Year

5.72 

4.37

+1.35

N/A 

8.18 / 2008-09

2.09 / 1960-61

 

Alpena (1916 - 2012)

Precipitation

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Record Wettest/Year

Record Driest/Year

4.48 

4.69 

-0.21

N/A

13.07 / 1996-97

2.53 / 1960-61

 

Traverse City Cooperative Observing Station (1930 - 1993, 2001 - 2012)

Precipitation

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Record Wettest/Year

Record Driest/Year

6.65

6.69 

-0.04

N/A

10.93 / 2008-09

2.09 / 1934-35

 

Gaylord Cooperative Observing Station (1940 - 2012)

Precipitation

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Record Wettest/Year

Record Driest/Year

6.60

8.04 

-1.44 

N/A

12.44 / 1996-97

2.85 / 1955-56

 

 

Winter Snowfall Data (inches):

Sault Ste Marie (1888 - 2012)

Snowfall

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Record Snowfall/Year

Least Snowfall/Year

63.7

85.1

-21.4

N/A

161.4 / 1995-96

23.2 / 1901-02

 

Houghton Lake (1919 - 2012)

Snowfall

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Record Snowfall/Year

Least Snowfall/Year

59.0

45.5 

+13.5 

N/A 

75.4 / 2008-09

8.9 / 1936-37

 

Alpena (1916 - 2012)

Snowfall

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Record Snowfall/Year

Least Snowfall/Year

45.9

58.3

-12.4

N/A

114.5 / 1970-71

14.5 / 1943-44*

 

Traverse City Cooperative Observing Station (1930 - 1993, 2001 - 2012)

Snowfall

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Record Snowfall/Year

Least Snowfall/Year

47.9

78.8

-30.9

N/A

116.0 / 1984-85

19.5 / 1931-32

 

Gaylord Cooperative Observing Station (1940 - 2012)

Snowfall

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Record Snowfall/Year

Least Snowfall/Year

68.5 

95.9

-27.4

N/A

146.1 / 2003-04

39.5 / 1943-44

 

- all averages are calculated using the new 1981 - 2010 period

( ) = Consistent years of record; Record temperature data for Gaylord is a combination of Gaylord Airport (2001- 2011) and the Cooperative Observing Station records (1951-2001), Record precipitation data for Traverse City is a combination of Cherry Capital Airport (1930-1993) and the Cooperative Observing Station records (2001-2011)

- only rankings in the top 10 will be entered

* = Record occurred in multiple years; latest year shown

**THESE DATA ARE PRELIMINARY AND HAVE NOT UNDERGONE FINAL QUALITY CONTROL BY THE NATIONAL CLIMATIC DATA CENTER. THEREFORE, THESE DATA ARE SUBJECT TO REVISION. FINAL AND CERTIFIED CLIMATE DATA CAN BE ACCESSED AT WWW.NCDC.NOAA.GOV.**

For additional climate information and atmospheric and oceanic features that drive the patterns across our area, please visit the following links:

Latest Central Pacific Ocean Temperature Trends        Large Scale Atmospheric Blocking Features        Local Climate Home Page

* Data for Traverse City is derived from a composite of observations taken at both Cherry Capital Airport and the cooperative observing station at Munson Medical Center. This data is for informational purposes only and does not meet climatological standards. This data set may include periods with missing data…particularly snowfall data from 1996-2001.

**Data for Gaylord is derived from a composite of observations taken at both Gaylord-Otsego County Airport and the cooperative observing station located near downtown Gaylord. This data is for informational purposes only and does not meet climatological standards. This data set may include periods with missing data and data that has been recorded from different observing points throughout history.

 



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