Snowiest November On Record In Grand Rapids

The map above is the November 2014 total snowfall reported from several NWS Cooperative Observers and CoCoRaHS (Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network) observers. Not all data represented are considered official.

November 2014 was a remarkable month for cold and snow. Temperatures across Southwest Lower Michigan averaged well below normal, snowfall was above to well above normal, and precipitation was near to above normal. Grand Rapids had their snowiest November on record while Muskegon had their second snowiest. A number of daily temperature, snowfall, and precipitation records were also set.

The first 11 days of the month had a mix of weather but was overall fairly benign. That all changed as arctic air spilled into the Midwest and Great Lakes regions and stayed put for 10 days. From November 12th through 21st, temperatures ranged mostly from the upper teens to lower 30s. Only on a few occasions did the high temperatures climb into the mid 30s to meet the normal low temperature for the time of year. The intensity and duration of the cold air outbreak rivaled that of few Novembers past, with 1950 being the most recent year that could claim a more significant prolonged outbreak in November. Grand Rapids broke one daily low temperature record and one daily minimum high temperature record. Muskegon broke one daily low temperature record and broke or tied two daily minimum high temperature records.

The cold air and favorable atmospheric setup for lake-effect snow led to a prolonged and record-breaking early season snowfall across much of the Great Lakes. Due to strong winds, the greatest snow amounts were recorded further inland. Grand Rapids and Muskegon each broke one daily snowfall record during this period. The snow that fell during the cold air outbreak in the middle of the month accounted for the vast majority of the monthly totals. Grand Rapids received 31.0 inches of snow for November, eclipsing the previous record of 28.2 inches in 1895. Muskegon accumulated 24.5 inches, falling short of the 1995 record of 25.7 inches. Lansing had 6.2 inches, still above normal for the month but not even in the top ten snowiest Novembers.

The cold outbreak ended the 22nd as temperatures climbed into the 40s and then 50s ahead of a strengthening low pressure system. A significant amount of rain fell from the 23rd to 24th, totaling 1 to 2 inches. Grand Rapids and Muskegon set daily precipitation records on one day and Lansing set records on two days. The snow on the ground melted entirely during this brief warm spell and contributed to pushing a few rivers above bankfull. Several locations in Southern Lower Michigan experienced wind gusts above 50 mph behind this system.

Cold air and snow returned late on the 24th and stayed through the 28th. A significant lake-effect snow band in north-northwest winds provided some lakeshore areas with 6 to 10 inches of accumulation on Thanksgiving. Another brief temperature swing into the 50s during the 29th and 30th ended the eventful month.

Grand Rapids received at least a trace of precipitation each day from the 4th through the 30th. This was mostly true at a number of other sites with the exception of a day or two. Despite the near-record snowfall at Muskegon and record snowfall at Grand Rapids, November drew to a close with no snow on the ground.





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