Lots of snow in November, almost no snow in December and now near-record cold has added up to one of the most unusual winters ever in West Michigan.

"We started off with November and December being reversed," said Robert Ruhf, a meteorologist and senior research associate at Western Michigan University's Mallinson Institute for Science Education. "We saw quite a lot of snowfall in November, and that was followed by an almost snowless December."

Winter began to become more normal in January. Then, February brought lots of snow and near record cold.

"Here's where we're seeing a repeat of last winter," he said. "In fact this February is turning out to be several degrees colder than last February was."

The National Weather Service's Grand Rapids Office and Ruhf point out that while winter's weather has been crazy in West Michigan and the Midwest, it's also been very unusual in other parts of the country.

"Boston has seen 101 inches of snow already this winter, while also you are seeing extreme drought conditions in California," Ruhf said.

Boston only needs 6 more inches of snow to set an all-time record.

Meanwhile, West Michigan is well under last year's totals, with Grand Rapids having about 75 inches of snow, Kalamazoo 70 inches, Muskegon 88 inches and Lansing 37 inches as of today, according to the National Weather Service's Grand Rapids office.

But the cold is another story.

The National Weather Service reports that highs this afternoon are only in the teens with wind chills of zero to 10 degrees, with normal highs being in the low to mid 30s typically.

"February could go down as one of the coldest Februaries," Ruhf said. "It's been colder than last year and is comparable to the cold winters we saw in the 1970s."

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