Here it is, the much anticipated NOAA 2018-2019 Winter Outlook. NOAA's seasonal outlooks offer the likelihood that temperatures and precipitation will be above-, near-, or below average across the U.S.
The trend for Michigan is slightly warmer and drier for December through February. One of the main factors that best defines our winter pattern is El Niño, which is an ocean-atmosphere climate interaction that is linked to periodic warming in sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific. During the winter, typical or strong El Niño conditions can include warm, drier conditions for us in Michigan and across much of the northern and western U.S. Even though El Niño has a 70 to 75 percent chance of developing this year, it looks very weak. Keep in mind, this weak pattern has meteorologists admitting this long range forecast comes with more uncertainty than recent years.
As we look forward to December, January and February, even with a warmer and drier than average winter forecast, we know there will still be cold outbreaks and heavy snows here in Michigan through the winter months.