Nathan Jeruzal, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Grand Rapids, said there is currently a La Nina watch in the Pacific Ocean. La Nina and El Nino are ocean patterns in the Pacific Ocean, which impact weather in North America.
A La Nina means there is cooler-than-average waters near Central and South America, and warmer-than-average temperatures near Indonesia.
When La Nina impacts Michigan weather, Jeruzal said that means winter temperatures will be average to below average.
Jeruzal also said La Nina could mean more lake-effect snow, causing a greater-than-average snowfall on Michigan this winter.
Other factors may impact Michigan’s winter weather, but are small in comparison to La Nina, Jeruzal said.
The Old Farmer’s Almanac 2018 general weather report said Michigan’s region will experience a mild and snowy winter.
“Temperatures will be much cooler than last winter, but still above normal from Maine southward to most of Florida and westward through the Great Lakes, Midwest, Heartland and Northern Plains,” according to the almanac.
West Michigan is in the almanac’s Region 6, which includes all of Michigan except the very northern part of the Lower Peninsula and the Upper Peninsula. Region 6 also includes the northern portions of Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, and the southeast portion of Wisconsin.
“Winter will be warmer than normal, with slightly above-normal precipitation,” the almanac says about Region 6. “The coldest periods will be in early- to mid-December, early January and mid-February. Snowfall will be above normal in Ohio and below normal elsewhere, with the snowiest periods in early- to mid-December, late December, early January and early February.”