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Average Weather in Traverse City Michigan, United States

In Traverse City, the summers are warm and partly cloudy and the winters are freezing, dry, windy, and mostly cloudy. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from 16°F to 80°F and is rarely below 2°F or above 89°F.

Climate Summary

freezingvery coldcoldcoolwarmcoolcoldvery coldJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec68%68%23%23%clearovercastprecipitation: 3.2 inprecipitation: 3.2 in1.0 in1.0 inmuggy: 22%muggy: 22%0%0%drydrytourism score: 6.8tourism score: 6.80.00.0
Click on each chart for more information.

Based on the tourism score, the best time of year to visit Traverse City for warm-weather activities is from late June to early September.

Temperature

The warm season lasts for 3.6 months, from May 29 to September 16, with an average daily high temperature above 70°F. The hottest day of the year is July 19, with an average high of 80°F and low of 61°F.

The cold season lasts for 3.4 months, from December 1 to March 13, with an average daily high temperature below 39°F. The coldest day of the year is January 29, with an average low of 16°F and high of 28°F.

Average High and Low Temperature

The daily average high (red line) and low (blue line) temperature, with 25th to 75th and 10th to 90th percentile bands. The thin dotted lines are the corresponding average perceived temperatures.

The figure below shows you a compact characterization of the entire year of hourly average temperatures. The horizontal axis is the day of the year, the vertical axis is the hour of the day, and the color is the average temperature for that hour and day.

Average Hourly Temperature

Average Hourly Temperature in Traverse CityJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec12 AM4 AM8 AM12 PM4 PM8 PM12 AMfreezingvery coldcoldcoldcoolcomfortablewarmvery coldfreezingcomfortable
The average hourly temperature, color coded into bands: frigid < 15°F < freezing < 32°F < very cold < 45°F < cold < 55°F < cool < 65°F < comfortable < 75°F < warm < 85°F < hot < 95°F < sweltering. The shaded overlays indicate night and civil twilight.

Tatvan, Turkey (5,841 miles away) and Lermontov, Russia (5,540 miles) are the far-away foreign places with temperatures most similar to Traverse City (view comparison).

Clouds

In Traverse City, the average percentage of the sky covered by clouds experiences significant seasonal variation over the course of the year.

The clearer part of the year in Traverse City begins around April 18 and lasts for 6.7 months, ending around November 7. On August 3, the clearest day of the year, the sky is clear, mostly clear, or partly cloudy 68% of the time, and overcast or mostly cloudy 32% of the time.

The cloudier part of the year begins around November 7 and lasts for 5.3 months, ending around April 18. On January 11, the cloudiest day of the year, the sky is overcast or mostly cloudy 77% of the time, and clear, mostly clear, or partly cloudy 23% of the time.

Cloud Cover Categories

Cloud Cover Categories in Traverse CityclearercloudiercloudierJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec0%100%10%90%20%80%30%70%40%60%50%50%60%40%70%30%80%20%90%10%100%0%Aug 368%Aug 368%Jan 1123%Jan 1123%Apr 1845%Apr 1845%Nov 746%Nov 746%clearmostly clearmostly cloudyovercastpartly cloudy
The percentage of time spent in each cloud cover band, categorized by the percentage of the sky covered by clouds: clear < 20% < mostly clear < 40% < partly cloudy < 60% < mostly cloudy < 80% < overcast.

Precipitation

A wet day is one with at least 0.04 inches of liquid or liquid-equivalent precipitation. The chance of wet days in Traverse City varies throughout the year.

The wetter season lasts 7.8 months, from April 9 to December 4, with a greater than 26% chance of a given day being a wet day. The chance of a wet day peaks at 35% on September 22.

The drier season lasts 4.2 months, from December 4 to April 9. The smallest chance of a wet day is 16% on February 3.

Among wet days, we distinguish between those that experience rain alone, snow alone, or a mixture of the two. Based on this categorization, the most common form of precipitation in Traverse City changes throughout the year.

Rain alone is the most common for 9.7 months, from February 24 to December 15. The highest chance of a day with rain alone is 35% on September 22.

Snow alone is the most common for 2.3 months, from December 15 to February 24. The highest chance of a day with snow alone is 14% on January 3.

Daily Chance of Precipitation

Daily Chance of Precipitation in Traverse CitysnowrainJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec0%10%20%30%40%50%60%70%80%90%100%Sep 2235%Sep 2235%Feb 316%Feb 316%Dec 1523%Dec 1523%Apr 926%Apr 926%snowrainmixed
The percentage of days in which various types of precipitation are observed, excluding trace quantities: rain alone, snow alone, and mixed (both rain and snow fell in the same day).

Rainfall

To show variation within the months and not just the monthly totals, we show the rainfall accumulated over a sliding 31-day period centered around each day of the year. Traverse City experiences significant seasonal variation in monthly rainfall.

The rainy period of the year lasts for 11 months, from February 12 to January 18, with a sliding 31-day rainfall of at least 0.5 inches. The most rain falls during the 31 days centered around September 21, with an average total accumulation of 3.2 inches.

The rainless period of the year lasts for 3.5 weeks, from January 18 to February 12. The least rain falls around February 4, with an average total accumulation of 0.5 inches.

Average Monthly Rainfall

Average Monthly Rainfall in Traverse CityrainJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec0 in1 in2 in3 in4 in5 inSep 213.2 inSep 213.2 inFeb 40.5 inFeb 40.5 inJun 122.7 inJun 122.7 in
The average rainfall (solid line) accumulated over the course of a sliding 31-day period centered on the day in question, with 25th to 75th and 10th to 90th percentile bands. The thin dotted line is the corresponding average liquid-equivalent snowfall.

Snowfall

We report snowfall in liquid-equivalent terms. The actual depth of new snowfall is typically between 5 and 10 times the liquid-equivalent amount, assuming the ground is frozen. Colder, drier snow tends to be on the higher end of that range and warmer, wetter snow on the lower end.

As with rainfall, we consider the snowfall accumulated over a sliding 31-day period centered around each day of the year. Traverse City experiences some seasonal variation in monthly liquid-equivalent snowfall.

The snowy period of the year lasts for 5.3 months, from November 7 to April 15, with a sliding 31-day liquid-equivalent snowfall of at least 0.1 inches. The most snow falls during the 31 days centered around January 4, with an average total liquid-equivalent accumulation of 0.6 inches.

The snowless period of the year lasts for 6.7 months, from April 15 to November 7. The least snow falls around July 26, with an average total liquid-equivalent accumulation of 0.0 inches.

Average Liquid-Equivalent Monthly Snowfall

Average Liquid-Equivalent Monthly Snowfall in Traverse CitysnowsnowJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec0.0 in0.5 in1.0 in1.5 in2.0 in2.5 in3.0 in3.5 inJan 40.6 inJan 40.6 inJul 260.0 inJul 260.0 inNov 70.1 inNov 70.1 inApr 150.1 inApr 150.1 in
The average liquid-equivalent snowfall (solid line) accumulated over the course of a sliding 31-day period centered on the day in question, with 25th to 75th and 10th to 90th percentile bands. The thin dotted line is the corresponding average rainfall.

Sun

The length of the day in Traverse City varies significantly over the course of the year. In 2017, the shortest day is December 21, with 8 hours, 48 minutes of daylight; the longest day is June 21, with 15 hours, 35 minutes of daylight.

Hours of Daylight and Twilight

Hours of Daylight and Twilight in Traverse CityJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec0 hr24 hr4 hr20 hr8 hr16 hr12 hr12 hr16 hr8 hr20 hr4 hr24 hr0 hr12 hr, 7 minMar 2012 hr, 7 minMar 2015 hr, 35 minJun 2115 hr, 35 minJun 2112 hr, 10 minSep 2212 hr, 10 minSep 228 hr, 48 minDec 218 hr, 48 minDec 21nightnightday
The number of hours during which the Sun is visible (black line). From bottom (most yellow) to top (most gray), the color bands indicate: full daylight, twilight (civil, nautical, and astronomical), and full night.

The earliest sunrise is at 5:56 AM on June 15, and the latest sunrise is 2 hours, 29 minutes later at 8:24 AM on November 4. The earliest sunset is at 5:01 PM on December 9, and the latest sunset is 4 hours, 31 minutes later at 9:32 PM on June 26.

Daylight saving time (DST) is observed in Traverse City during 2017, starting in the spring on March 12, lasting 7.8 months, and ending in the fall on November 5.

Sunrise & Sunset with Twilight and Daylight Saving Time

Sunrise & Sunset with Twilight and Daylight Saving Time in Traverse CityJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec2 AM4 AM6 AM8 AM10 AM12 PM2 PM4 PM6 PM8 PM10 PM12 AMJun 155:56 AMJun 155:56 AM9:32 PMJun 269:32 PMJun 26Dec 95:01 PMDec 95:01 PM8:24 AMNov 48:24 AMNov 4Mar 12DSTMar 12DSTDSTNov 5DSTNov 5daynightnightnightnightSolarMidnightSolarMidnightSolarNoonSunriseSunset
The solar day over the course of the year 2017. From bottom to top, the black lines are the previous solar midnight, sunrise, solar noon, sunset, and the next solar midnight. The day, twilights (civil, nautical, and astronomical), and night are indicated by the color bands from yellow to gray. The transitions to and from daylight saving time are indicated by the 'DST' labels.

Humidity

We base the humidity comfort level on the dew point, as it determines whether perspiration will evaporate from the skin, thereby cooling the body. Lower dew points feel drier and higher dew points feel more humid. Unlike temperature, which typically varies significantly between night and day, dew point tends to change more slowly, so while the temperature may drop at night, a muggy day is typically followed by a muggy night.

Traverse City experiences some seasonal variation in the perceived humidity.

The muggier period of the year lasts for 3.2 months, from June 11 to September 18, during which time the comfort level is muggy, oppressive, or miserable at least 6% of the time. The muggiest day of the year is July 30, with muggy conditions 22% of the time.

The least muggy day of the year is February 26, when muggy conditions are essentially unheard of.

Humidity Comfort Levels

Humidity Comfort Levels in Traverse CitymuggyJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec0%10%20%30%40%50%60%70%80%90%100%Feb 260%Feb 260%Jul 3022%Jul 3022%Jun 116%Jun 116%Sep 186%Sep 186%muggymuggydrydrycomfortablecomfortablehumidhumidoppressiveoppressive
The percentage of time spent at various humidity comfort levels, categorized by dew point: dry < 55°F < comfortable < 60°F < humid < 65°F < muggy < 70°F < oppressive < 75°F < miserable.

Wind

This section discusses the wide-area hourly average wind vector (speed and direction) at 10 meters above the ground. The wind experienced at any given location is highly dependent on local topography and other factors, and instantaneous wind speed and direction vary more widely than hourly averages.

The average hourly wind speed in Traverse City experiences significant seasonal variation over the course of the year.

The windier part of the year lasts for 7.0 months, from September 24 to April 24, with average wind speeds of more than 11.8 miles per hour. The windiest day of the year is January 4, with an average hourly wind speed of 14.6 miles per hour.

The calmer time of year lasts for 5.0 months, from April 24 to September 24. The calmest day of the year is July 22, with an average hourly wind speed of 9.0 miles per hour.

Average Wind Speed

Average Wind Speed in Traverse CitywindywindyJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec0 mph2 mph4 mph6 mph8 mph10 mph12 mph14 mph16 mph18 mph20 mph22 mphJan 414.6 mphJan 414.6 mphJul 229.0 mphJul 229.0 mphSep 2411.8 mphSep 2411.8 mphApr 2411.8 mphApr 2411.8 mph
The average of mean hourly wind speeds (dark gray line), with 25th to 75th and 10th to 90th percentile bands.

The predominant average hourly wind direction in Traverse City varies throughout the year.

The wind is most often from the north for 2.8 months, from February 18 to May 11, with a peak percentage of 35% on March 8. The wind is most often from the south for 1.6 months, from May 11 to June 30 and for 3.0 months, from August 16 to November 15, with a peak percentage of 36% on September 16. The wind is most often from the west for 1.5 months, from June 30 to August 16 and for 3.1 months, from November 15 to February 18, with a peak percentage of 35% on July 19.

Wind Direction

Wind Direction in Traverse CityWNSWSWJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec0%100%20%80%40%60%60%40%80%20%100%0%westsouthnortheast
The percentage of hours in which the mean wind direction is from each of the four cardinal wind directions (north, east, south, and west), excluding hours in which the mean wind speed is less than 1 mph. The lightly tinted areas at the boundaries are the percentage of hours spent in the implied intermediate directions (northeast, southeast, southwest, and northwest).

Water Temperature

Traverse City is located near a large body of water (e.g., ocean, sea, or large lake). This section reports on the wide-area average surface temperature of that water.

The average water temperature experiences significant seasonal variation over the course of the year.

The time of year with warmer water lasts for 2.4 months, from July 12 to September 26, with an average temperature above 61°F. The day of the year with the warmest water is August 14, with an average temperature of 68°F.

The time of year with cooler water lasts for 5.1 months, from December 19 to May 21, with an average temperature below 41°F. The day of the year with the coolest water is March 8, with an average temperature of 35°F.

Average Water Temperature

The daily average water temperature (purple line), with 25th to 75th and 10th to 90th percentile bands.

Best Time of Year to Visit

To characterize how pleasant the weather is in Traverse City throughout the year, we compute two travel scores.

The tourism score favors clear, rainless days with perceived temperatures between 65°F and 80°F. Based on this score, the best time of year to visit Traverse City for general outdoor tourist activities is from late June to early September, with a peak score in the first week of August.

Tourism Score

Tourism Score in Traverse Citybest timeJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec02468106.86.80.00.0 precipitationprecipitationcloudscloudstemperaturetemperaturetourism score
The tourism score (filled area), and its constituents: the temperature score (red line), the cloud cover score (blue line), and the precipitation score (green line).

The beach/pool score favors clear, rainless days with perceived temperatures between 75°F and 90°F. Based on this score, the best time of year to visit Traverse City for hot-weather activities is from early July to mid August, with a peak score in the last week of July.

Beach/Pool Score

Beach/Pool Score in Traverse Citybest timeJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec02468104.84.80.00.0 precipitationprecipitationcloudscloudstemperaturetemperaturebeach/pool score
The beach/pool score (filled area), and its constituents: the temperature score (red line), the cloud cover score (blue line), and the precipitation score (green line).

Methodology

For each hour between 8:00 AM and 9:00 PM of each day in the analysis period (1980 to 2016), independent scores are computed for perceived temperature, cloud cover, and total precipitation. Those scores are combined into a single hourly composite score, which is then aggregated into days, averaged over all the years in the analysis period, and smoothed.

Our cloud cover score is 10 for fully clear skies, falling linearly to 9 for mostly clear skies, and to 1 for fully overcast skies.

Our precipitation score, which is based on the three-hour precipitation centered on the hour in question, is 10 for no precipitation, falling linearly to 9 for trace precipitation, and to 0 for 0.04 inches of precipitation or more.

Our tourism temperature score is 0 for perceived temperatures below 50°F, rising linearly to 9 for 65°F, to 10 for 75°F, falling linearly to 9 for 80°F, and to 1 for 90°F or hotter.

Our beach/pool temperature score is 0 for perceived temperatures below 65°F, rising linearly to 9 for 75°F, to 10 for 82°F, falling linearly to 9 for 90°F, and to 1 for 100°F or hotter.

Growing Season

Definitions of the growing season vary throughout the world, but for the purposes of this report, we define it as the longest continuous period of non-freezing temperatures (≥ 32°F) in the year (the calendar year in the Northern Hemisphere, or from July 1 until June 30 in the Southern Hemisphere).

The growing season in Traverse City typically lasts for 5.0 months (152 days), from around May 14 to around October 13, rarely starting before April 27 or after May 31, and rarely ending before September 24 or after November 3.

Time Spent in Various Temperature Bands and the Growing Season

Time Spent in Various Temperature Bands and the Growing Season in Traverse Citygrowing seasonJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec0%100%10%90%20%80%30%70%40%60%50%50%60%40%70%30%80%20%90%10%100%0%May 1450%May 1450%Oct 1350%Oct 1350%May 3190%May 3190%Sep 2490%Sep 2490%Apr 2710%Apr 2710%Nov 310%Nov 310%Jul 28100%Jul 28100%frigidfreezingvery coldcoolcomfortablewarmcoldhot
The percentage of time spent in various temperature bands: frigid < 15°F < freezing < 32°F < very cold < 45°F < cold < 55°F < cool < 65°F < comfortable < 75°F < warm < 85°F < hot < 95°F < sweltering. The black line is the percentage chance that a given day is within the growing season.

Growing degree days are a measure of yearly heat accumulation used to predict plant and animal development, and defined as the integral of warmth above a base temperature, discarding any excess above a maximum temperature. In this report, we use a base of 50°F and a cap of 86°F.

Based on growing degree days alone, the first spring blooms in Traverse City should appear around May 1, only rarely appearing before April 17 or after May 15.

Growing Degree Days

The average growing degree days accumulated over the course of the year, with 25th to 75th and 10th to 90th percentile bands.

Solar Energy

This section discusses the total daily incident shortwave solar energy reaching the surface of the ground over a wide area, taking full account of seasonal variations in the length of the day, the elevation of the Sun above the horizon, and absorption by clouds and other atmospheric constituents. Shortwave radiation includes visible light and ultraviolet radiation.

The average daily incident shortwave solar energy experiences extreme seasonal variation over the course of the year.

The brighter period of the year lasts for 3.5 months, from May 5 to August 20, with an average daily incident shortwave energy per square meter above 5.9 kWh. The brightest day of the year is July 1, with an average of 7.1 kWh.

The darker period of the year lasts for 3.6 months, from October 30 to February 15, with an average daily incident shortwave energy per square meter below 2.3 kWh. The darkest day of the year is December 23, with an average of 1.1 kWh.

Average Daily Incident Shortwave Solar Energy

Average Daily Incident Shortwave Solar Energy in Traverse CitybrightdarkdarkJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec0 kWh1 kWh2 kWh3 kWh4 kWh5 kWh6 kWh7 kWh8 kWh9 kWhJul 17.1 kWhJul 17.1 kWhDec 231.1 kWhDec 231.1 kWhMay 55.9 kWhMay 55.9 kWhAug 205.9 kWhAug 205.9 kWhOct 302.3 kWhOct 302.3 kWhFeb 152.3 kWhFeb 152.3 kWh
The average daily shortwave solar energy reaching the ground per square meter (orange line), with 25th to 75th and 10th to 90th percentile bands.

Topography

For the purposes of this report, the geographical coordinates of Traverse City are 44.763 deg latitude, -85.621 deg longitude, and 614 ft elevation.

The topography within 2 miles of Traverse City contains only modest variations in elevation, with a maximum elevation change of 351 feet and an average elevation above sea level of 614 feet. Within 10 miles contains only modest variations in elevation (620 feet). Within 50 miles contains significant variations in elevation (1,234 feet).

The area within 2 miles of Traverse City is covered by artificial surfaces (52%) and water (38%), within 10 miles by trees (32%) and water (27%), and within 50 miles by trees (42%) and water (38%).

Data Sources

This report illustrates the typical weather in Traverse City, based on a statistical analysis of historical hourly weather reports and model reconstructions from January 1, 1980 to December 31, 2016.

Temperature and Dew Point

There are 2 weather stations near enough to contribute to our estimation of the temperature and dew point in Traverse City.

For each station, the records are corrected for the elevation difference between that station and Traverse City according to the International Standard Atmosphere , and by the relative change present in the MERRA-2 satellite-era reanalysis between the two locations.

The estimated value at Traverse City is computed as the weighted average of the individual contributions from each station, with weights proportional to the inverse of the distance between Traverse City and a given station.

The stations contributing to this reconstruction are: Cherry Capital Airport (98%, 3.9 kilometers, southeast) and Frankfort City-Benzie County Airport (2.2%, 48 kilometers, west).

Other Data

All data relating to the Sun's position (e.g., sunrise and sunset) are computed using astronomical formulas from the book, Astronomical Tables of the Sun, Moon and Planets , by Jean Meeus.

All other weather data, including cloud cover, precipitation, wind speed and direction, and solar flux, come from NASA's MERRA-2 Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis . This reanalysis combines a variety of wide-area measurements in a state-of-the-art global meteorological model to reconstruct the hourly history of weather throughout the world on a 50-kilometer grid.

Land Use data comes from the Global Land Cover SHARE database , published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Elevation data comes from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) , published by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Names, locations, and time zones of places and some airports come from the GeoNames Geographical Database .

Time zones for aiports and weather stations are provided by AskGeo.com .

Maps are © Esri, with data from National Geographic, Esri, DeLorme, NAVTEQ, UNEP-WCMC, USGS, NASA, ESA, METI, NRCAN, GEBCO, NOAA, and iPC.

Disclaimer

The information on this site is provided as is, without any assurances as to its accuracy or suitability for any purpose. Weather data is prone to errors, outages, and other defects. We assume no responsibility for any decisions made on the basis of the content presented on this site.

We draw particular cautious attention to our reliance on the MERRA-2 model-based reconstructions for a number of important data series. While having the tremendous advantages of temporal and spatial completeness, these reconstructions: (1) are based on computer models that may have model-based errors, (2) are coarsely sampled on a 50 km grid and are therefore unable to reconstruct the local variations of many microclimates, and (3) have particular difficulty with the weather in some coastal areas, especially small islands.

We further caution that our travel scores are only as good as the data that underpin them, that weather conditions at any given location and time are unpredictable and variable, and that the definition of the scores reflects a particular set of preferences that may not agree with those of any particular reader.