Erratic rainfall this summer across Northern Michigan

Rainfall varied widely across Northern Michigan this summer.

While there are still a couple weeks left in summer, meteorological summer (which is June, July, August) is over with.

With that in mind, all five climate stations across Northern Michigan came in slightly above average for the summer in terms of temperature with no dramatic anomalies.

Rainfall was a much different story as summer rain varied widely with some spots very dry and others substantially more wet.

Of our five climate sites which are Sault Ste. Marie, Alpena, Gaylord, Traverse City, and Houghton Lake, only Sault Ste. Marie had above normal rainfall from June through August.

In fact, the Soo finished with 14.03" of summer rain well over the average of 8.73". With records going back to 1888, this was surprisingly the 5th wettest summer ever at Sault Ste. Marie! The wettest summer there came in 1974 when 15.82" of rain came down.

On the other extreme, Houghton Lake had a meager 4.16" of rain over the summer months. That fell well short of the normal 9.26" by 5.10". This places Houghton Lake in its 3rd driest summer ever with records going back to 1919. The driest summer there was back in the dust bowl years in 1931 when a mere 3.74" fell. In a typical summer, Houghton Lake actually averages more rain than Sault Ste. Marie.

Another spot that could use more rain was Gaylord which fared little better. From June through August, only 5.75" of rain came down, well short of the normal 9.54". This makes for the 4th driest summer at Gaylord since 1940. The driest summer at Gaylord by comparison was in 1966 with 5.29" of rain.

Alpena also came in drier than normal for summer, but not as bad off as points further inland. Alpena ended up with 7.14" of rain which is 1.74" short of normal which is 8.88".

The closest to average was Traverse City where they ended up with 9.28" of rain coming in just 0.39" short of the normal summer rainfall of 9.67". An interesting fact about Traverse City's final summer total is that a whopping 2.87" of that rain fell in one day, on August 27th. In other words, 31% of all the rain Traverse City saw this summer fell in a few hour period on August 27th which led to some localized flooding there that day.

Going forward, the latest long range forecasts from the Climate Prediction Center based off several factors indicate a warmer and wetter than normal autumn season in the forecast. Time will tell!