What does another La Niña winter mean for Michigan?

Gabriella Tapp ‘23, News Editor

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has released its winter weather predictions for December through February 2023: The United States is expected to face its third La Niña year in a row—which is rare, considering these events typically last only nine to 12 months. During this weather pattern, trade winds in the Pacific Ocean become more forceful than usual, with the ability to change global atmospheric conditions. The impacts of this phenomenon are felt differently around the world, which begs the question: what exactly is in store for Michigan this upcoming winter?

La Niña typically leads to cooler, wetter winters for the Great Lakes region and warmer and drier winters for the Southern United States. However, it is worth noting that the severity of the changes caused by this pattern can vary. According to the NOAA, we can expect “wetter-than-average conditions for areas of the Ohio Valley, Great Lakes, northern Rockies, and Pacific Northwest.” Snow days and winter squalls may be plentiful in the coming months. Michiganders in the Lower Peninsula should not, however, anticipate significantly cooler-than-average temperatures. 

Increased precipitation in Michigan means snowier, more slippery conditions for state residents to endure. This can be extremely dangerous for those traveling by car. According to data from the Michigan State Police, “Of the more than 1.5 million total crashes reported in Michigan from 2015-2019, 220,526 (14.2 percent) were winter-weather related.” Taking the proper precautions while driving, and only leaving the house if it is absolutely necessary, can be the difference between life and death when roads are icy. Limiting time outside, avoiding overexertion when shoveling snow, and bundling up appropriately are important steps to take to stay safe in treacherous winter conditions. It is imperative for Michiganders to prepare for the long, snowy winter to come. 

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