This month’s series of theme articles covers Weather and how it can affect your maritime pursuits. We begin by reviewing the May weather in the Muskegon area and how it affected boating and sailing.
Weatherwise, Muskegon had great variation in weather within the month of May 2001. The first 10 days featured above average temperatures. After 10 days temperatures were + 4.22°. During this time the monthly high of 80° occurred on the 1st and 3rd.
Later in the month from the 22nd on Muskegon has below normal temperatures. This period saw temperatures 5.6° below normal. The monthly low was 32° on the 13th.
For the month, the average temperature ended up 3.1° above normal.
The above temperature contrast shows that Muskegon has weather with air masses originating in warm areas such as the Gulf of Mexico with colder Polar air masses later on. From a practical standard, don’t miss that good sailing day there’s no guarantee you’ll get it back!
Muskegon received 4.82 inches of precipitation, 2.22 inches above normal, and the 11th wettest May on record. The highest one day rainfall was 1.38 inches on the 21st. For the same period Lake Michigan 157% of average rainfall. However, water levels rose only about 2 inches. Rather than filling the lake, the rain refilled the ground water supply. This will help in the long term during dry periods.
For the sailor Muskegon saw an average wind speed of 9.72 in May, a bonus of .92 knots from the typical wind speed. The windiest day was 17.4 knots on the 2nd, with the lightest day 2.8 knots on the 25th. By getting your boat in the water before Memorial Day you can grab some bonus sailing on less crowded waters.
Wind direction wise the most common wind was SW which brought warm temperatures 6 of the 8 days. Second most common wind was SE, which brought cold on 3 of its 5 days.
A knowledge of the prevailing winds can allow you to sail on days favorable for your area.
May was an interesting month meteorologically. Careful study of the weather likely could have enhanced your sailing and your understanding of the weather.
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