Will 'winter' return to Michigan?

Photo of Scott Nunn
Will winter return? Who knows.

Will winter return? Who knows.

Dimitri Otis/Getty Images

Less-than-normal snowfalls and above-average temperatures have made winter across parts of Michigan not feel very wintery, but will that continue?

All signs point to — it's hard to say.

According to National Weather Service Meteorologist Megan Varcie, Michigan can thank the jet streams for the lack of winter.

"Recently we have been on the warmer side of the storm tracks,” she said. “We have had temperatures above freezing, so our precipitation has been in the form of rain instead of snow. Even when we get snow, it has been melting as it hits the ground."

Varcie said the jet streams are what determine whether warm air masses or cold air masses move into a region. She said right now those jet streams are positioned to allow Michigan to have warmer air masses, and not the colder air that moves in from Canada. However, she also said not to forget the weather system that moved through the weekend of Christmas, which brought colder-than-usual temperatures and a significant amount of precipitation across the state.

"In December we had that colder air mass," she said.

Varcie said while the weather might seem out of the ordinary, it isn't necessarily.

"It is pretty early in the year to look at averages," she said. "Since Dec. 1 we have had 5.5 inches of snow. Normally it would be 15.3 inches, so we are below normal in snowfall, but we are also below normal in precipitation."

The short-term forecast shows similar uncertainties, with a potential for light snow and rain-snow mix tomorrow throughout the day, and a potential for a late-week storm.

"We are looking at a late-week low-pressure system coming in Thursday and Friday," Varcie said. "We aren't sure on the precipitation type, but if we are on the north side of the low, that will give us snow. We will likely see some combination of rain or snow Thursday or Friday."

Regardless of the uncertainty, there is one thing that is for sure in Michigan.

"Winter isn't done yet," Varcie said. "There are still several months to go."