Paul Gross explains: Where’s the snow? Where’s winter?

NOAA Winter Temp Outlook Map (NOAA)

The one thing about being a broadcast meteorologist is that I always have a firm grip on what people are wondering about our weather.

Whether it be coming up to me in a store and asking, e-mailing me, or commenting on social media, I know the weather pulse of our area. And the question on almost everybody’s minds these days is: “Where in the world is winter?”

Back in early November, I posted a very detailed article here on ClickOnDetroit explaining my outlook for this coming winter. One of the key takeaways from that article is that I expected a winter with longer than normal stretches of the same weather, as opposed to the more frequent variations we get in a typical winter.

(Is there such thing as a typical winter anymore? That’s a discussion for another time).

So let’s take a look at what has transpired thus far:

The first eleven days of November featured above average temperatures, followed by below average temperatures for the next eleven days, followed by above average temperatures for the rest of the month.

In December, the first half of the month was above average, followed by below average temperatures the rest of the month until we went back well-above average as New Year’s weekend approached.

And, of course, the first week of January has been well-above average. So the temperature part of my outlook has worked out very well thus far: long stretches with the same temperatures.

As for snowfall, we had two-and-a-half inches in November, followed by only five inches in December and very little snow this month so far. I expected near normal snowfall for the season, so we obviously have some catching up to do. But does this mean we’re done with winter? Not a chance.

I still expect a long stretch of “regular” winter weather, as I envision a colder trend to take hold during the second half of January and continue into at least part of February…which means that there’s a better chance that storm systems impacting the Great Lakes during that timeframe will be snowmakers, instead of the rain we’ve mostly seen so far this winter due to those storms passing to our west.

This would be consistent with the general pattern I saw last winter (in case you forgot, we received 20 inches of snow just in February last year). And for those of you who don’t want the snow, you may want to reevaluate those feelings, because it’s winter snow (not from lake effect but, rather, from those storm systems that cross the country) that replenishes our Great Lakes. If you like to play on the water in the summer, then you’d better hope for some good snowstorms.

So, if you are one of those who has already given up on winter and are just sitting there watching to see if your tulips are starting to come up, be assured that I expect plenty more wintry weather in the weeks ahead!

Keep those skis ready to go …

About the Author:

Local 4 meteorologist Paul Gross was born in Detroit and has spent his entire life and career right here in southeast Michigan. Paul has researched, written and produced eight half-hour documentaries for WDIV, as well as many science, historical and environmental stories.