Mild or Wild: What kind of winter can Mid-Michigan expect?

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FLINT (WJRT) Mild or wild?

Mid-Michigan has gotten off relatively easily the past couple winters with mild winters and not as much snow.

Here are some educated guesses for whether that trend will hold this year, or whether we'll be shoveling a lot of snow.

Looking at history
Looking at history and what kind of winters Mid-Michigan has experienced with a similar setup can be a good guide for what to expect this year.

LaNina, a slight cooling in the Pacific Ocean around the Equator, will be one of the biggest drivers of our weather this winter. LaNina episodes develop about every three to five years and generally bring a colder, snowier winter.

Bill Deedler, a Michigan State University weather historian, said LaNina events in the past similar to what is developing in the Pacific this year have brought colder weather and more snow.

"I expect a busy pattern overall with a number of clippers coming down out of Canada bringing in the colder air and the snowfalls across the Mid-Michigan area," he said. "But at the same time, the better producers for snow and rain, more moisture will come in from the southwest. And that track looks to be right over southeast Michigan."

That means some storms will come as rain or a rain-snow mix, which could reduce the amount of snow that falls -- especially around the south end of our viewing area.

The Farmer's Almanac for the great lakes region is calling for below average temperatures with near normal snowfall. The Old Farmer's Almanac is calling for something a little bit different -- above average snowfall or at least above average precipitation, meaning rain and snow in the Thumb region, but mild temperatures, temperatures a little above average.

National Weather Service
The 90-day outlook for December, January and February from the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center calls for an equal chance of above normal, normal or below normal temperatures.

The 90-day forecast for precipitation indicates there is a 40 percent chance for above average precipitation, a 33 percent chance of near normal precipitation and a 27 percent chance of below average precipitation.

ABC12 First Alert Weather team
Chief Meteorologist JR Kirtek -- Temperatures will end the season around the average with wild swings from warm to frigid air. Above average precipitation, but not all of it will fall as snow.

Meteorologist Chris Mulcahy -- Colder than average temperatures with above average snowfall, but not significantly above for either. The worst of the winter weather should happen early, then moderate in February.

Meteorologist Christina Burkhart -- Large temperature swings that will end up slightly below average for the season with more precipitation than normal, but some will fall as rain during warm periods.

Meteorologist Kevin Goff -- Temperature swings on a pendulum from warm to cold and slightly above average snowfall. However, if some potent storms hit during the cold spells, we could see two or three significant snowfalls of 6 to 12 inches.

Former ABC12 Meteorologist John McMurray -- Temperatures barely below normal, but no long bouts of bitterly cold air. Snowfall barely above average, but nowhere near record setting.

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