Winter will be here soon. In an effort to raise awareness about the potential dangers of the upcoming winter season, Governor Rick Snyder has declared November 6 – 12, 2016, as Winter Hazards Awareness Week in Michigan. As we know, Upper Michigan winters are severe, so preparedness, awareness and common sense are always important when facing winter hazards. During Winter Hazards Awareness Week, Michigan residents are encouraged to learn about the dangers associated with cold, snow and ice and how to stay safe during the winter season.
Last winter will be remembered for the near record strength of El Nino (warmer than average water temperatures in the Eastern Pacific). This resulted in the warmest winter on record across the United States, and a top 5 warmest winter across Upper Michigan. The mild winter also resulted in reduced snowfall with seasonal snowfall averaging well below normal for most.
Are we in for another unusually mild winter this winter? The strong El Nino that influenced the weather last winter has dissipated. Thus, a repeat of last year’s unusual warmth seems unlikely. Long range projections suggest temperatures and snowfall will average much closer to their long-term winter normal this upcoming winter.
With a more typical U.P. winter expected, we know that it will soon be getting cold and there will also be multiple bouts of wintry weather to contend with during the next 6 months. Thus, now is the time to get prepared for the upcoming winter season. Many simple preparations can be taken including making sure your car is ready for the colder weather, having a survival kit in your car, ensuring you have warm coats, hats, and gloves, and being aware of potential fire and carbon monoxide hazards from alternate heat sources such as a fireplaces, wood stoves or space heaters.
For more information on how to prepare for the upcoming winter season, visit the National Weather Service Marquette website at www.weather.gov/mqt, or follow us on Facebook (facebook.com/NWSMarquette) or Twitter (@NWSMarquette).