Office of Domestic Preparedness Blog

2017-2018 Michigan Winter Hazards Awareness

The Michigan Committee for Severe Weather Awareness was formed in 1991 to promote safety awareness and coordinate public information efforts regarding tornadoes, lightning, flooding and winter weather.

The winter of 2016-17 will be remembered for the second near record warm winter in a succession. Unlike the winter of 2015-2016 which feature a record strong El Nino (warmer than average water temperatures in the Eastern Pacific), last winter had no such distinguishing climate forcing feature.  Last winter was another very warm winter for the eastern United States, and the seventh warmest winter for the State of Michigan (see U.S. figure left).  Most locations across Michigan were 3 to 5 degrees above average for the winter season (see regional figure below-right), which placed most reporting stations in their top ten warmest winters on record.  It was also a very wet winter with the state recording its twelve wettest winter on record.  Despite the available moisture, the warmer temperatures again limited snowfall across the state.  Much of the state experienced below normal snowfall with the only exception being a few locations in the Upper Peninsula and Northern Lower (see regional figure below-left) that got close to their average snowfall.  In fact, most of the significant events during last year’s winter season were more typical of autumn or spring weather events with warm strong winds, rounds of severe thunderstorms and even the first recorded February tornadoes in the state’s history!


Walt Grech