All the cold and snow makes winter Michigan’s most challenging season. Even Michiganders who love this time year are starting to long for sunshine and warmer days right about now. Here are a few thoughts most of us in the Mitten State start to have when spring is on the way.
1. The days are getting longer! The sun doesn’t set until after 6pm. In December it gets dark around 5pm, and we don’t see daylight again until about 8am the next morning. It makes for some really long, cold nights. Thank goodness for Netflix and the invention of binge-watching! In the summer the sun is up around 6am and sticks around until about 10pm. We love those long summer days!
2. If it gets above 40, I can wear shorts again. You know you’re in Michigan in the spring if you see people wearing shorts and a winter coat at the same time. You might think we’re crazy, but actually we’re just prepared for the unpredictable spring weather. Here you can wake up to frost on the ground and have sunshine and 70 degrees by noon.
4. That groundhog is a dirty, rotten liar. He knows nothing about meteorology. It really doesn’t matter whether or not Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow. There’s always six more weeks of winter left when it’s February in Michigan.
5. I’ll lose another hour of my life I’ll never get back when we spring forward. In the fall, when we turn our clocks back an hour at the end of Daylight Savings Time, we love the extra hour of sleep we get. In the spring, we really miss the hour of sleep we lose when we turn the clocks up an hour. But without DST, we wouldn’t get those long summer days. So it’s all good.
6. It’s been way too long since I’ve been to the beach. For many of us our life in the summer revolves around planning our next trip to the beach as soon as possible. So when it’s frozen over for four to six months, we really miss it.
7. It’s 50 degrees outside. It’s so hot! Someone open a window. I’m suffocating! Warm is all relative. When you’re used to the temperature being below freezing the 20 degree difference can feel like a tropical heat wave!
8. What is that shiny, bright orb in the sky? On average, in the winter, Michigan only sees about 35 percent of possible sunshine. Possible sunshine is the time the sun could be out between sunrise and sunset. Unfortunately, here the clouds often cover it up in the winter. Add the lack of sun during the day to the long, dark nights, and we feel like mole people when the sun finally makes an appearance in the spring. My eyes! My eyes! It’s burning my eyes!
9. Look! Orange barrels blocking lanes on the freeway. Michigan’s first spring blooms are out! There’s a saying here that goes like this: There are only two seasons in Michigan, winter and road construction. All that snow, ice and road salt does a number on the pavement, creating big cracks and potholes that can swallow whole cars. So as soon as it’s warm enough, road crews are out making repairs.
10. I survived another Michigan winter, and it was worth it! The winters do get long, and they aren’t for the faint of heart. But it’s worth putting up with all the cold, because there’s no place better to be than Michigan in the summer.