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Greater Grand Rapids: Top 5 Weather Events of 2013 [Video]

It was a year for the record books in 2013 in West Michigan.

At least so says the National Weather Service’s Grand Rapids Office, which issued its annual climate summary report this week.

There was the April flooding that swamped locales along the Grand River and other area tributaries.

There was the ice storm right before Christmas that knocked out power for thousands of people in Michigan.

And how about those gusting winds of Nov. 17?

What follows are the top five weather events from last year in Grand Rapids and West Michigan.

Source: National Weather Service Grand Rapids

Steven Depolo
Steven Depolo


April Floods



It was a record week for Grand Rapids in the aftermath of record rainfall April 17 and 18.

Flooding continued for days in Grand Rapids and other parts of West Michigan, with sandbagging efforts and a state of emergency was declared in Grand Rapids and along the Flat River in Lowell.

The Grand River, which runs through downtown Grand Rapids, crested at 21.85 feet on April 18, according to the National Weather Service. The flood stage for the river is 18 feet.

It was the highest water level charted in Grand Rapids’ history. In 1985, the Grand River crested at 19.64 feet.

April was the third wettest month in Grand Rapids’ history on record, with 10.76 inches — four times its average.


Lady DragonflyCC/Flickr
Lady DragonflyCC/Flickr


Before Christmas Ice Storm



Winter arrived with an icy blast on the weekend of Dec. 21 and 22, sending freezing rain across a wide section of the Lower Peninsula and knocking out electrical service to thousands for a week because of downed electrical connections caused by ice-draped tree limbs and power lines.

Many went without power on Christmas because of the ice storm.


Consumers Energy
Consumers Energy


Mid-November Severe Weather



Nov. 17 was the day of a severe weather and tornado outbreak across the Midwest, with 73 confirmed tornadoes across seven states, according to the National Weather Service.

There was $1.6 billion in damages caused and seven people died.

The Sunday outbreak was the most prolific day for tornadoes last year. One of the tornadoes hit Otsego County in Michigan.

In West Michigan, winds were clocked gusting at 63 miles per hour at Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids and 77 mph at a Lake Michigan buoy in South Haven.


Steven Depolo
Steven Depolo


Mid-July Heat Wave



It was a week-long heat wave that didn’t cool off from July 14 to 20.

The high temperatures were 91 degrees on July 14, 95 on July 15, 93 degrees on July 16, 95 degrees on both July 17 and 18 and 96 degrees on July 19.

At 9:43 a.m. July 19, the National Weather Service reported the city set a record high low of 79 degrees. The old minimum temperature mark for the date was 78 degrees in 1934.

Grand Rapids tied its all-time record high on July 15 with 95 degrees.


Muskegon County CVB
Muskegon County CVB


Record Muskegon Snowfall



Muskegon had 53.3 inches of snow in February 2013, breaking its record for the month of 45.8 inches set in 1981.

By comparison, Grand Rapids had 57.6 inches of snow for the season as of the end of February 2013.


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