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Welcome to the Michigan
Winter Hazards Awareness Week website


Winter Hazards Awareness Week
Sunday, November 5th

  Day 1 - A Summary of the Winter of 2017/2018


The Michigan 2017-18 Winter can be characterized as a winter of extremes across Michigan. The winter began very cold, followed by a mild mid-winter, and finished very cold. This led to slightly below normal average temperatures for the entire winter. Precipitation was well distributed throughout the season, although later parts of the winter and early spring experienced heavier snowfall. Michigan snowfall in the winter was around average except for areas of southeast Michigan where snowfall was well above normal with a record amount of seasonal snowfall for Flint. Because of wild fluctuations in temperatures, there were significant snowmelts and several mixed precipitation events throughout the season.



The winter started slightly slower than normal with just two snow events in far western Upper Michigan on October 27-28 and November 8-9. Up to a foot of snow fell during these winter storms, while other parts of Upper Michigan experienced minor wind damage and lakeshore flooding with wind gusts up to 60 mph.


The first significant push of arctic air moved over the warmer waters of the Great Lakes from December 5 - 9 producing the first widespread lake effect snows for much of the state. The traditional snow belts near Lakes Superior and Michigan received up to a foot of snowfall. An Alberta Clipper moved quickly across the southern Great Lakes on December 13 to produce a swath of 3 to 9 inches of snow near Manistee and Ludington, southeast into metro Detroit. The next winter storm moved through the state on Christmas Eve and produced locally heavy snow with up to 7 inches for parts of metro Detroit. In the wake of this system, arctic air flooded over the state and remained through the first week of January. Rounds of lake effect snow hit mainly the favored snowbelts with some locations receiving up to 2 feet of snow in this two week period. Unfortunately, four people lost their lives in metro Detroit due to the exposure to the frigid temperatures. The rest of January was mostly quiet with just one winter storm hitting the bulk of the Upper Peninsula on January 22 - 23. One last unusual winter storm hit the state in the month on January 29. A very narrow band of snow developed from Lansing to Flint and into the Thumb region, approximately 20 miles wide. The event setup more like a summer time severe weather event with thunder and individual storm cells rather than a classic band of snowfall. In the end, up to a foot of snow was reported in Lansing and Flint.


A storm moved through southern Lower Michigan on February 9, with 5 to 15 inches of snowfall south of a Grand Rapids to the Port Huron line. This storm help to re-establish a deep snow pack that set the stage for a significant flooding event for southwest Lower Michigan. Warm air flooded ahead of the next storm on February 19-21. In addition to the very warm February air mass, rainfall of 3 to 5 inches fell over southwest Lower Michigan. This combination of snowmelt and heavy rainfall led to widespread flooding. The month ended with one last winter storm for western and central Upper Michigan on February 24-25 with moderate to heavy snowfall.

March came in like a lion for metro Detroit as 5 to 8 inches of snow fell during a winter storm on March 1. The active late winter season continued with a winter storm from March 6 - 8 for northeast Lower Michigan including the Thumb region. When the storm ended, up to 14 inches of snow had fallen on these parts of the state. The month ended with a winter storm in Upper Michigan and northern Lower Michigan with more heavy snowfall.

The winter season continued to hang its icy grip on the state through mid-April. Northern Lower Michigan was hit with a snowstorm on April 3 - 4 with widespread totals of a foot of snow.


The final winter storm hit the state with a damaging last punch. This complex storm that lasted from April 13 - 15 included a combination of snow, sleet, freezing rain, and wind. The Upper Peninsula saw mostly snow that totaled one to two feet in some locations. Northern Lower Michigan had 8 to 14 inches of snow, then 1 to 5 inches of sleet, followed by an ending 6 to 9 inches of snow. Farther south the precipitation was mostly sleet and freezing rain for areas along and north of Interstate 94 in southern Lower Michigan. This icy mix left most areas with a quarter to half inch of ice that coated trees and power lines. The gusty northeast winds added to the impact by producing blowing and drifting snow, pushing over ice coated trees and powerlines, and creating damaging lakeshore flooding for Bay and Monroe Counties. In the wake of this storm, over a half million homes and businesses in the state were left without power and nearly $50 million in damages.