Winter snowfall forecast for West Michigan

Posted at 8:53 AM, Nov 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-02 23:00:39-04

West Michigan – Forecasting winter snowfall months in advance can be a tricky business in the Great Lakes. However, there are a few signs that this winter could be a bit colder with more snow than last year.

The graphic above shows the forecast snowfall amounts for the winter months here in West Michigan. Heavier lake effect snow early in the winter and colder temperatures later could bring above average snow totals to most of the area. The average snow for the state is show below courtesy  of the Midwest Regional Climate Center. The heavier lake-effect bands are show along the Lake Michigan and Lake Superior shorelines.


One of the signs pointing to a colder winter than last year is El Nino.  Last year El Nino was very strong early, and then faded into a weak La Nina. That kept our temperatures a bit milder for winter.

This is the latest 3 month temperature outlook from NOAA for December, January and February. Temperatures are forecast to be below average for the northern plains and much of the Great Lakes. West Michigan looks like it has a slightly better chance of seeing below average temperatures for those months.

Above is the precipitation outlook for the three month period of December, January and February from NOAA. As you can see there is a high probability of above average precipitation from West Michigan through the northern Great Lakes.

If the 3 month outlook for both temperature and precipitation are correct, our chances of above average snowfall will increase for both West Michigan and much of the state.