Clarkston, MI October 2011 – Tune up the skis and snowboards and get out the long johns, because Michigan will see a cold and snowy winter, according to national meteorologists and two competing farmer’s almanacs.
National meteorologists agree that Michigan is in a “La Nina” weather pattern, which traditionally means more snow and colder temperatures. “I think this winter is going to be an exceptional one,” said AccuWeather forecaster Paul Pastelok. He predicts that Michigan’s southwest corner, and up to Traverse City, should prepare for early season snows, fueled by cold northwest winds crossing warm Lake Michigan waters.
Meteorologist Heather Buchman of AccuWeather.com predicts that snowfall will be, “above normal from Minnesota and Iowa into Michigan, Ohio and parts of West Virginia and Kentucky. This buildup of snow cover across the Midwest and Great Lakes could act to prolong the colder-than-normal weather beyond February and into early spring.”
Mickey MacWilliams, executive director of the Michigan Snowsports Industries Association, says that’s great news for skiers and snowboarders. She points out, however, that even if Mother Nature doesn’t provide the perfect base of snow, Michigan’s ski areas are prepared to make it. “Each year our ski areas add more and better snowmaking equipment, to insure that when temperatures are 28º or lower, there will be snow on the slopes,” she adds. More information about Michigan’s ski slopes and trails is available at goskimichigan.com.
That may not be necessary, according to the AccuWeather prediction map for the Great Lakes area, which shows “Heavy Lake Effect Snows” for most of the Upper Peninsula and the western half of the Lower Peninsula. Buchman explains that, “Bitterly cold blasts of arctic air are expected to invade the northern Plains, Midwest and Great Lakes, December through January, while snowfall averages above normal.” In relation to the snow, Pastelok said, “A couple of heavy hitters are possible [during this time].”
Two publications in the “predictions” business agree. According to the time-honored, complex calculations of the 220-year-old The Old Farmer’s Almanac, the Lower Lakes region, which includes all of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula except for the northern region from Muskegon east to Alpena will experience the snowiest periods in mid-December, mid- and late January, mid-February, and mid-March.
For the Upper Peninsula and the northern region of the Lower Peninsula, The Old Farmer’s Almanac predicts, “winter will be colder than normal, especially in February. Other cold periods will occur in mid- and late December and mid- and late January.”
The Farmers’ Almanac, a competitor to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, places Michigan’s Lower Peninsula in the “Very White” section of their winter prediction map, while the Upper Peninsula will experience “Very Cold, Average Snowfall.”
Both books use secret formulas to predict weather based on sunspots, planetary positions and other information and feature a mix of helpful hints, recipes, gardening tips, jokes and inspirational messages.