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Staying gray; severe sunshine deficit

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South Bend, IND -- Michiana is not known for sunshine in January and February. In 2020, this is especially true, as we are behind in the number of sunny days for the year.

The month of January finished with just 3 days of sunshine. January 2nd, 6th, and 22nd were sunny. The other 28 days were partly cloudy or cloudy.

As of February 4th, there have been two additional sunshine days. February 2nd and February 3rd bring the total number of sunny days for the year to five days. This means 30 out of 35 days this year have been cloudy.

Because there typically is not a lot of sunshine this time of year, these numbers do not seem too surprising at first glance. However, when compared to 2018 and 2019, the number of sunny days seems especially low.

From January 1st to February 4th last year, there were nine sunny days. For the same time period in 2018, there were eleven sunny days. With this average, we have about a five day deficit of sunshine.

One possible reason for all the clouds relates to our above normal temperatures. Air temperatures and Lake Michigan temperatures have been similar this year. Typically, when the lake is warmer than the air, lake effect snow forms. Lake Michigan temperatures range from 36 to 44 degrees. With similar air temperatures, snow has struggled to form, and instead we are getting lake effect clouds.

https://www.glerl.noaa.gov/

Will we have a chance to catch up on our sunny days? The rest of this week looks to be cloudy and snowy, so the short answer is "no." However, Sunday will be partly cloudy, so we might have a chance for some Sunday sunshine.

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