Michigan’s Snowy Season Off To A Slow Start
A relatively snowless November makes 2011 the third consecutive year with a slow kickoff. The November average is anywhere from 8 to 20 inches for northern Michigan locations such as Alpena, Gaylord, Houghton Lake, Traverse City and Sault Ste. Marie.So far this year, Alpena and Houghton Lake have recorded fractions of an inch. Traverse City is at less than 3 inches, and Gaylord and Sault Ste. Marie are at 9.8 inches, all well below average. Grand Rapids was below average as well.
The reason has not been the same for each of the last 3 seasons. The jet stream is the key, and there are many factors that influence its average location from year-to-year. In the 2009-2010 season, the effects of El Niño, on the jet stream, were the main culprit. This season, and last season, the effects of La Niña are the main culprit. It turns out that, in general, neither El Niño nor La Niña effects are good for snowy winters in northern Michigan.