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Most rain ever in a January day?

MUSKEGON, Mich. (WZZM) - The recent rainfall on January 29 was very unusual for West Michigan -- and may have set more than one record in Muskegon.  

Officially, 2.48" fell from midnight to midnight, breaking the previous January 29 record of 0.73" set in 2006.  It may also be a record for any January day, except for one intriguing incidence over a century ago.

According to official weather documents shared with me by William Marino, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Grand Rapids, on January 3, 1897, Muskegon apparently received a whopping 4.90" of rain!  Initially, as I 'poured' over the Climate and Crop Service report from January 1897, it seemed possible that that much rain could have fallen, given that many other locations in West Michigan received one to two inches that day.

However, upon closer inspection of the Voluntary Observers' Meteorological Record, I noticed that instead of measuring the rainfall over a 24-hour period from 7 am one day to 7 am the following day (which was the common method for many years), the rainfall measurement actually started at 5 pm on January 1 and ended at 11 pm January 3 - a 54-hour period!

So, it is possible the rain that fell on January 29, 2013, is the most ever recorded in a single day (and perhaps in a 24-hour period) in the month of January. 

But we will never know for sure...


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