One of the most epic stretches of unseasonably warm weather in Michigan since records have been kept occurred between March 14th and March 22nd in 2012. Record heat blanketed not only the state, but a good portion of North America for over a week, leading to some bizarre summer-like weather while it was still technically winter.

According to a report from WOOD-TV 8, a nine day stretch of high temperatures around West Michigan ranged from the mid-70s to the mid 80s. Average highs during this portion of March are in the mid-40s, so at times the temperatures were almost 40 degrees above normal. On March 21st, the mercury hit 87 degrees in Grand Rapids, breaking an all time record for the highest above average temperature. According to the National Weather Service, nearly every site in Michigan broke their March heat record during this event.

Here are some amazing statistics from the record heat have of March 2012:

  • Marquette reached 81 degrees on March 21st. This not only broke a record high by 32 degrees, but the low temperature that day was higher than the previous record high.
  • 47” of snow in the Upper Peninsula melted away to nothing in just two weeks.
  • Detroit set an all time high temperature for the month on March 21st (84 degrees) and then broke the record the next day on March 22nd (86 degrees).
  • Chicago broke record high temperatures nine days in a row, each of them above 80 degrees.
  • Minneapolis broke record high temperatures right at midnight several days during this stretch.
  • Over a dozen major cities established new all-time record highs for the month of March.
  • The average low during this stretch is parts of Michigan was around 60 degrees, about 15 degrees warmer than the normal average high.

A lot of people welcomed the jump from winter right to summer as Michiganders were able to break out the shorts and sandals earlier than ever. On the hottest days, some people actually turned on their air conditioners. Many took to the golf courses, went fishing and some even ventured to the area beaches. But it wasn't all good news as many flowers and plants started blossoming way too early. Several frosts occurred after the heat wave ended, severely damaging the fruit industry that year.

Perhaps March 2012 was foreshadowing another record heat wave that would come to Michigan a few months later. In early July, several cities broke all time record high temperatures, reach the low to mid-100s.