GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- Extreme cold and lots of snow in West Michigan; many people will not remember this winter fondly. But how does it compare to past winters?
As of Wednesday the National Weather Service says that there is roughly 21 inches of snow on the ground. The record is 27 inches of snow, which was set in 1978.
In the Grand Rapids area, there has been 85.6 inches of snow this winter; Muskegon has broken 100 inches. Last year Grand Rapids had 35.7 inches of total snow by this time in the season.
Lake Michigan is currently 55% covered in ice and the Great Lakes are 75% covered in ice on average, with Lakes Erie and Ontario nearly completely frozen over.
All of the snow and ice has meant school closures. Grand Rapids Public Schools, which is known for not canceling, has had five days off so far. Muskegon Public has had six days, and Greenville Schools has had a whopping 11 and a half days off; they will have to make up some of the days at the end of the year.
MDOT is having a rough year so far. From October to December of 2013 MDOT has used over used over 44,000 tons of sand, and 900,000 gallons of liquid calcium chloride-- enough to fill 1.5 Olympic sized pools. MDOT has also used over 228,000 tons of road salt, which is equal to the weight of four Titanic ships.
The total price tag through December is $34.6 million, which is over 100% more than last year. The bad news is that winter isn't even over yet.