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The Great Lakes are the largest freshwater system on the Earth's surface, home to a fragile fishery, and delicate shoreline beaches and dunes. They are also central to northern Michigan tourism, economies and our way of life.

La Niña to dump more snow over Michigan, Great Lakes this winter

Above average precipitation is expected over the Great Lakes from December through February, according to NOAA.
Dan Wanschura
/
Interlochen Public Radio
Above average precipitation is expected over the Great Lakes from December through February, according to NOAA.

Michigan could see a lot of snow this winter according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which came out with its 2020 U.S. Winter Outlook on Thursday.

winter_2020.png
Credit NOAA

Above average precipitation is expected over the Great Lakes from December through February, and that could mean more erosion and flooding for shoreline communities.

“The outlook does favor above average precipitation over all of the lakes,” says Mike Halpert, deputy director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.

“If enough precipitation falls, with the lakes already at high levels, that certainly could exacerbate things.”

That continues the recent wet trend in region. Since 1950, three of the highest years of precipitation across the lakes have been in the past 10 years. Exactly how much snow the region will get isn’t known though, as NOAA’s outlook doesn’t project seasonal snowfall accumulations.

Whether or not it’s going to be a cold or warm winter in Michigan also remains to be seen.

“While we favor colder than average conditions to west of the lakes, mainly from Western Minnesota westward, Michigan and the Great Lakes areas are kind of in-between,” Halpert says. “It’s kind of a toss-up at this point as to even whether we’ll see a cold or warmer winter there.”

NOAA says cooler ocean temperatures from La Niña will affect winter temperatures, precipitation levels, and drought conditions.