Remember how warm it was last winter?
The high temperature in Detroit on February 25, 2017 was 70 degrees. It ended up being the second warmest February on record and the eighth warmest winter.
It probably won’t get that warm this winter, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The Climate Prediction Center’s 2017-18 winter forecast is calling for closer to average temperatures in southeast Michigan.
Rich Pollman is the warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in White Lake Township. He says this winter should feel pretty typical.
“That’s not to say we won’t have a warm day or two,” he says. “In Michigan, we can get a warm day during the winter time, but the idea that we’re going to have 70s again in February would seem very unlikely with this winter forecast.”
So what about snow? Metro Detroit averages less than 33 inches of snow between December 1 and the end of February. Pollman says relatively normal temperatures — and above-normal precipitation — could mean higher than average snowfall.
“It looks like Michigan is going to be in the storm track more often this year,” he says.
Pollman also says the Pacific Ocean near South America is likely to be colder than normal, creating a La Nina effect that will influence the upper atmosphere.
“It’s a big ocean,” Pollman says. “There’s a lot of water there, and water can store a lot more heat with it than the atmosphere can. So when that changes, it affects the global circulation pattern.”
Click the audio player to hear the conversation with WDET’s Pat Batcheller.