Does Michigan Have Different Spring Seasons For Each Peninsula?
Michigan is mostly known for being the Great Lake State, giving residents the ability to use their hand as a map, and for having all four seasons (sometimes in a single week's time). Though, what most people probably don’t realize, some Michiganders included, are the differences the changing Spring season has on different geographic areas of the overall state. Many people joke that the Upper Peninsula is Canadian or Wisconsin land, but no, it is a beautiful addition to the state of Michigan. Despite the claim from locals on this matter, perhaps the only thing to justify this argument is when you see how different the changing of the seasons can be for the different peninsulas.
Tip: Stay tuned for the gallery and some entertaining signs of Spring for both the U.P. and L.P.
Melting of Winter
With Spring comes the changing of the weather. Though many don’t think of it this way, I consider downstate Michigan to be lucky when it comes to Spring. If you really think about it, the unpredictable Michigan season weather actually allows snow a reasonable amount of time to melt without doing so too quickly that it damages the roads. While there may be intermittent snow storms up until May, the lower peninsula gets a long period of time to physically see the changes that come with Spring. The snow melts enough to let the grass show, leaving more of a mud puddle than the rivers that form around U.P. drains.
While it is widely known that Michigan’s Upper Peninsula gets an abundance of snow within a given season, almost no one realizes how much until you live there. Not only does the U.P. have a giant thermometer that tracks the current year's snow average, which sits around 300 inches minimum, but there is so much snow that in addition to regular snow plowing, there are industrial trucks that transport the snow from the town and college onto the frozen Portage of Lake Superior.
The purpose of transporting so much snow from the hilly towns isn’t just for the comfort of trying to maintain road space and general safety, but come springtime those mounds of snow melt and break down the roads. Just like lower Michigan, the U.P.’s Spring is filled with rainy days. Unlike lower Michigan, the excess amount of rainwater in addition to the melting snow mounds cause severe flooding almost annually. Then, because the majority of the U.P. is made up of mountains, the extra runoff water makes the standard ‘traffic cone is the state flower’ a fact rather than a joke.
Frost Determines Agriculture
Michigan is a large agricultural state for many different kinds of crops. Probably unknown to most people, Huron County is actually one of the top producing counties in the entire country. In addition to that, asparagus, corn, cucumbers, cherries, grapes, squash, apples, and my personal favorite strawberries happily grow in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula’s mineral enriched land. While each crop determines its planting season, the start of Spring and harvest season occurs much earlier and longer than that of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
Like other cold, harsher climate parts of the world, planting season for the U.P. is a somewhat shorter season than that of Michigan's lower half. Harvesting season is entirely dependent on the frost, an estimated season for the U.P. is only a 100-day period. While some traditional fruits can be found growing in the U.P. with harder land, crops grown upstate primarily consist of hay, corn, oats, and barley.
For the state of Michigan as a whole, the Spring season technically begins around mid-late March and ends around mid-late June. As someone who has lived in both Peninsula’s of Michigan long enough to really gauge the annual weather pattern, I can say this is true for the lower peninsula only. After all, if the crop season is a 100-day period doesn’t that mean the summer would be roughly that time as well?
There are many indicators to Michigan’s Spring season, but when those seasons occur for each Peninsula, it makes the difference of what the summer season can be. What do you consider to be the first sign of Spring in your area? Do the following things like pesky insects, roof ice glaciers, birds singing, and more fit with your idea of a Michigan Spring?