Winter 2012-2013...Mild Beginning...Cold and Snowy Finish

 Winter Highlights:

(1) Another very mild winter across the north woods.  Temperatures averaged several degrees above normal, with the greatest departures occurring during December and January.  While all locations were well above normal, only Sault Ste Marie and Traverse City reported a top ten warmest winter season.

(2) Precipitation averaged well above normal -  hopefully a good sign as we head toward the growing season.  All three winter months had above normal precipitation amounts, with seasonal totals averaging a good 2, to almost 4, inches above normal.  As a result, several sites reported one of their wettest winters on record, with Houghton Lake, Traverse City, and Gaylord reporting one of their 5 wettest winters.

(3) Snowfall was more variable than normal.  While the snowbelts received plenty of snow, especially during a near record breaking February, areas across northeast lower Michigan reported well below normal snowfall totals.  This, despite well above normal precipitation, is indicative of the above normal temperatures and frequent rain or mixed precipitation events across the area.  

 

Winter Temperature Data (December - February):

Sault Ste Marie (1888 - 2013)

Winter Mean

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Record Warm/Year

Record Cold/Year

 20.9

18.4

 +2.5

Tied 10th Warmest 

25.7 / 2001-02

7.6 / 1917-18

 

Houghton Lake (1919 - 2013)

Winter Mean

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Record Warm/Year

Record Cold/Year

24.1 

20.7

 +3.4

N/A 

28.7 / 1931-32

13.3 / 1976-77

 

Alpena (1916 - 2013)

Winter Mean

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Record Warm/Year

Record Cold/Year

 24.6

21.5

+3.1 

 N/A

28.8 / 1931-32

12.6 / 1917-18

 

Traverse City Cherry Capital Airport (1897 - 2013) 

Winter Mean

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Record Warm/Year

Record Cold/Year

 27.3

23.6

 +3.7

 10th Warmest

30.9 / 1931-32

15.2 / 1978-79

 

Gaylord COOP (1951 - 2001); Gaylord Airport (2001-2013)

Winter Mean

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Record Warm/Year

Record Cold/Year

 22.5

19.5

+3.0 

N/A 

26.3 / 2001-02

13.8 / 1993-94

 

Winter Precipitation Data (December - February):

Sault Ste Marie (1888 - 2013)

Precipitation

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Record Wettest/Year

Record Driest/Year

 9.28

6.32

 +2.96

 9th Wettest

12.49 / 1995-96

2.37 / 1904-05

 

Houghton Lake (1919 - 2013)

Precipitation

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Record Wettest/Year

Record Driest/Year

 8.17

4.37

+3.80 

2nd Wettest 

8.18 / 2008-09

2.09 / 1960-61

 

Alpena (1916 - 2013)

Precipitation

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Record Wettest/Year

Record Driest/Year

7.32 

4.73

+2.59 

 N/A

13.07 / 1996-97

2.53 / 1960-61

 

Traverse City Airport (1930 - 1993); Traverse City COOP (2001 - 2013)

Precipitation

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Record Wettest/Year

Record Driest/Year

 10.21

6.69

 +3.52

 3rd Wettest

10.93 / 2008-09

2.09 / 1934-35

 

Gaylord Cooperative Observing Station (1940 - 2013)

Precipitation

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Record Wettest/Year

Record Driest/Year

 9.90

8.04

+1.86 

3rd Wettest 

12.44 / 1996-97

2.85 / 1955-56

 

 

Winter Snowfall Data (December - February):

Sault Ste Marie (1888 - 2013)

Snowfall

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Record Snowfall/Year

Least Snowfall/Year

97.8 

83.5

+14.3 

 N/A

161.4 / 1995-96

23.2 / 1901-02

 

Houghton Lake (1919 - 2013)

Snowfall

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Record Snowfall/Year

Least Snowfall/Year

 44.1

45.4

-1.3 

N/A 

75.4 / 2008-09

8.9 / 1936-37

 

Alpena (1916 - 2013)

Snowfall

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Record Snowfall/Year

Least Snowfall/Year

 36.1

58.0

 -21.9

 N/A

114.5 / 1970-71

14.5 / 1943-44*

 

Traverse City Airport (1930 - 1993); Traverse City COOP (2001 - 2013)

Snowfall

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Record Snowfall/Year

Least Snowfall/Year

 70.6

78.8

 -8.2

 N/A

116.0 / 1984-85

19.5 / 1931-32

 

Gaylord Cooperative Observing Station (1940 - 2013)

Snowfall

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Record Snowfall/Year

Least Snowfall/Year

 103.4

95.9

 +7.5

 N/A

146.1 / 2003-04

39.5 / 1943-44

 For a running seasonal total snowfall from July 1st for the selected sites above, please visit Seasonal Snowfall Totals for Northern Michigan.

- 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/dates; latest year/date 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      Latest Drought Information

* 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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