GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — If you’re wondering where all the snow is this season, blame it on El Niño.
A strong El Niño is the reason for low snow totals and the unseasonably warm start to winter. Grand Rapids, Muskegon and Lansing all experienced the warmest December on record.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, El Niño refers to the large-scale ocean-atmosphere climate interaction tied to temporarily warmer surface temperatures on the Pacific Ocean.
This El Niño has peaked and as it weakens, cold air will become more frequent over Michigan and the Great Lakes.
Temperatures will warm to the 40s late this week, but colder, Arctic air will move back into Michigan from Jan. 11 to Jan. 15.
Mid-January to March will likely be much closer to average temperatures. In fact, Storm Team 8 Chief Meteorologist Bill Steffen wouldn’t be surprised if March turned out to be slightly cooler than December.
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*Jan. 2, 2016 data provided by Western Michigan University