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Michigan’s Snowy Season Off To A Slow Start

William Murphy, Flickr
Seeing that it is December in Michigan, this may be outdated within minutes of publication, but our snowy season is off to a very slow start.  Current forecasts show things staying that way…at least for now.


Many miss the snow and just as many are happy to see it stay away.  Snow provides a boost to Michigan’s economy in many ways, at the same time the lack of snow keeps the roads clear and encourages many to travel and spend.


We will always have people who love and hate the snow and we will always have some retailers and businesses who benefit from the snow and some who are hurt by the snow.


The snow has been missing all over the state, not just West Michigan. reports:
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.
However you feel about the snow, we all want to know why it’s been slow. says:
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.
Time will tell if we have a white Christmas, but something tells me Frosty will be moving to a front lawn near you before too long.

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