Monthly weather forecast and climate
Michigan, USA

Flag of Michigan, USA
Flag of Michigan, USA

The climate of Michigan

Michigan has a continental type of climate (Köppen climate classification Dfb) in its major northern part, with warm, short summers and icy winters. The minor southern part falls under the hot-summer subtype (Köppen Dfa). Lake Michigan and Wisconsin in the southwest to the northwest, Lake Superior and Lake Huron in the north to northeast, Lake Erie in the southeast, and Ohio and Indiana in the south form the borders of the state. Michigan lies in the Midwest and Great Lakes region of the United States. The latitude, altitude, and proximity to the Great Lakes influence the climate of Michigan to a large extent.

Michigan, the Great Lakes State, is home to the longest freshwater coastline in the world, with four great lakes, and over 11,000 small lakes in its tow. The state consists of an Upper and a Lower Peninsula, with different versions of a continental climate, joined by the Straits of Mackinac. The topography consists of flatlands and gently rolling hills in the eastern half of the Upper Peninsula, while the western tablelands rise to 480 meters. The Lower Peninsula ranges from level terrain in the southeast to rolling hills in the southwest, with tablelands in the north. The average elevation of Michigan is 270 meters, and Mount Arvon is the highest point at 603 meters.

Lakes and dominant westerly winds affect the seasons in Michigan. Summer days see a lake breeze due to prevailing winds near the shores of the lake that extend inland for a few miles. A reverse land breeze occurs during the nights. Summer temperatures scale the peak of 85°F (29.4°C) in July. However, temperatures rarely cross 90°F (32.2°C) in the north and average only 14 days in the south. Winters are cold and snowy, with even day temperatures below freezing in many parts for days together. Night temperatures below 0°F (-17.8°C) are typical in the northern parts of the Upper Peninsula in the cold season. Spring transitions from cold to mild weather, with ample rainfall. Fall skies are the cloudiest of the year due to the passage of cold air over the warm lake waters.

The average annual precipitation is 31" (787mm) in Michigan, with 60% of the rainfall in the growing season. Thunderstorms are the primary source of summer rainfall, while winters see light, steady rain. Snowfall records in the range of 150" (3810mm) to 180" (4572mm) annually in a small section of the western parts of both the peninsulas. The rest of the state registers between 40" (1016mm) to 120" (3048mm) of snow in the year. Hail is common in the spring season in the state, while its frequency is high in the autumn season in the northwestern part of the Lower Peninsula. Michigan sees 160 to 180 days with less than 80% cloud cover, and 2100 to 2200 hours of annual sunshine.

Mio recorded the highest ever temperature of 112°F (44.4°C) on July 13, 1936, in Michigan, while Vanderbilt recorded the coldest temperature of -51°F (-46.1°C) on February 9, 1934.

The best time to visit Michigan

The best time to visit Michigan is from late spring in May to mid-autumn in October. The days are warm in the spring and fall, and the bright sunshine of summer is a great time to enjoy recreational boating on the lakes. Early spring is cold and snowy in many parts, while late fall is chilly. Every 5 miles have a lake in Michigan, and there is no area in the state that is more than 85 miles distant from one of the Great Lakes. The microclimates of the Great Lakes region bring pleasant temperatures during the summer. Mid-October is the time of the peak fall foliage.

The worst time to visit Michigan

The worst time to visit Michigan is the severely cold winter season from December to February. The northern highlands of the Upper Peninsula and areas near Lake Superior see snowfall in excess of 150" (3810mm). Snowstorms affect normal life and damage life and property. The cold months have short days, and the sunshine limits to a few hours daily. Strong gales blow during the winter days to exacerbate the cold effect. The snow cover is persistent, and frost freezes the soil underneath the ground. Snow lovers enjoy the white landscape and the flurry of activities in winter.

Weather hazards

Michigan is prone to thunderstorms, tornadoes, floods, and blizzards. Thunderstorms occur for 30 days on average in the year. Severe thunderstorms occur in the southern portion of Michigan. Tornadoes are common in the extreme south, with an annual average of 17 in the state. Southern Michigan observed a series of tornadoes on April 11, 1965, with $51 million in damages. Occasional floods occur during early spring due to heavy rain and the melting of snow. Wind storms and blizzards are infrequent but cause severe damage. Snowstorms deposit massive amounts of snow and stall normal life, with significant power outages and impassable roads.

Weather in January

January is the coldest and snowiest month of the year in Michigan and the most challenging part of winter. The temperatures drop below 0°F (-17.8°C) and even touch -20°F (-28.9°C) in the northern highlands. Wind chill increases the impact of the cold exponentially as every additional mile of wind speed is equivalent to a few degrees drop in temperature. Weather in January »

Weather in February

February is scarily cold in the majority of Michigan with short days and long nights. The average high temperatures statewide are in the cold 26°F (-3.3°C) to 35°F (1.7°C) range, while the average low temperatures are in the frigid zone of 3°F (-16.1°C) to 21°F (-6.1°C). Weather in February »

Weather in March

March is cold and damp in Michigan, with a gradual transition to the spring season. Drizzles are frequent during the day, and the majority of the state sees rainfall to the tune of 2" (51mm) to 3" (76mm). The sunshine is weak during the days of early spring, with frequent cold fronts from the Arctic. The average high temperatures are in the range of a mild 35°F (1.7°C) to 46°F (7.8°C), while the nights are below freezing between 10°F (-12.2°C) to 28°F (-2.2°C). Weather in March »

Weather in April

April shows the first signs of warmth in the spring of Michigan and brings greenery to the landscape. The average high temperatures are in the warm zone of 46°F (7.8°C) to 60°F (15.6°C), and the average low temperatures are between a cold 25°F (-3.9°C) to 38°F (3.3°C). Weather in April »

Weather in May

May brings bright sunshine to Michigan as the cold and windy conditions abate significantly. The warm days and comfortable nights receive daily sunshine of 6.5 hours. The average daily temperatures are in the pleasant 58°F (14.4°C) to 71°F (21.7°C) range, while the nights are in the mild zone of 36°F (2.2°C) to 48°. Rain picks up in intensity with 3" (76mm) to 5" (127mm) in the state as the snow starts to melt away. Weather in May »

Weather in June

June begins the beautiful summer season in Michigan with bright sunshine amid blue skies at the helm. The long days see 8 hours of sunlight and the rainfall averages 3" (76mm) to 5" (127mm) in the month. The average high temperatures are in the pleasant range of 67°F (19.4°C) to 80°F (26.7°C), while the nights are comfortable between the 45°F (7.2°C) to 58°F (14.4°C) range. Weather in June »

Weather in July

July is usually the hottest month of the year in Michigan, with at least ten sunny days that bring 9 hours of intense sunshine. The average high temperatures are in the hot 76°F (24.4°C) to 85°F (29.4°C) range, while nights are comfortable in the 50°F (10°C) to 64°F (17.8°C) zone. Weather in July »

Weather in August

August is delectably warm in Michigan with long days and dry conditions across the state. The average temperatures in the state are in the zone of 50°F (10°C) to 82°F (27.8°C), with 7 hours of daily sunshine. The precipitation is to the tune of 3" (76mm) to 4" (102mm), and mostly in the form of thunderstorms and occasional showers. Weather in August »

Weather in September

September starts the wonderful fall season in Michigan with warm temperatures and steady rain. The average high temperatures are in the 65°F (18.3°C) to 76°F (24.4°C) range, while the average low temperatures are in the mild 43°F (6.1°C) to 55°F (12.8°C) zone. Weather in September »

Weather in October

October is the period of peak fall foliage in the countryside of Michigan that brings the glory of the wilderness into the limelight. The average high temperatures are in the comfortable 56°F (13.3°C) to 63°F (17.2°C) range, but the nights are cold with average low temperatures in the 32°F (0°C) to 44°F (6.7°C) zone. The daily sunshine lasts between 5 to 6 hours in the majority of the state, with 12 to 15 wet days in the month. Weather in October »

Weather in November

November is a transitional period from warm to cold weather in the late fall season in Michigan. The fall foliage is beyond its peak as trees start to show bare limbs by mid-November. The average high temperatures are in the mild 36°F (2.2°C) to 50°F (10°C) range, while nights drop below freezing. November sees the first snowfall in Michigan, as Houghton and Iron Mountain in the Upper Peninsula receive more than 22" (559mm) of snow. Weather in November »

Weather in December

December is the beginning of the freezing winter in Michigan, with abundant snowfall and dark skies. The short days miss the sunlight dearly, with a few entirely devoid of sunshine. The average high temperatures are in the 24°F (-4.4°C) to 37°F (2.8°C) range, while the average low temperatures are in the cold 9°F (-12.8°C) to 25°F (-3.9°C) range across the state. Weather in December »


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