Skip to main content
  1. News
  2. Weather & Climate

Snowfall next year could be below average

See also

After this cold and snowy winter we may see a pattern change leading to a warm winter with below average snowfall. This is still many months away and things can certainly change.

More Photos

We’ve been in an ENSO-neutral state (ocean temperatures within 0.5°C of normal) since the spring of 2012. Warming in the waters of the Pacific Ocean may lead to an El Niño event over the summer. The Climate Prediction Center (CPC) issued an El Niño watch, stating that there is a “50% chance of El Niño developing during the summer or fall.”

A weak El Niño occurs when the temperatures are between 0.5°C and 0.9°C above average. A moderate El Niño when temperatures are 1.0°C and 1.4°C and a strong El Niño with readings 1.5°C and greater.

For West Michigan, warm winters with below average snowfall typically follow moderate or strong El Niño events that peak during the winter.

It’s certainly not a guarantee, there have been El Niño years when the snowfall still climbed to normal levels. Other meteorological factors can override El Niño producing heavy snowfall.

Timing is everything. If the El Niño peaks too early, temperatures for the winter could be below average, this happened in 2002/2003.

We certainly have a long way to go and the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) will continue to monitor the ocean temperatures and issue monthly updates.

The slideshow on the top of the page has the official forecast maps.

For all the latest Grand Rapids Weather news, click here to 'Subscribe' and receive an email whenever a new story is posted. You can also follow the Grand Rapids Weather Examiner on Twitter and connect with the Grand Rapids Weather Examiner on Facebook



  • Israel, Hamas clash in Gaza
    At least 550 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza in the third week of the war
  • Pro-Russia guards
    President Obama criticizes pro-Russian rebels for blocking off the MH17 crash site
    World News
  • National Guard at Texas border
    Texas Gov. Rick Perry sending National Guard troops to the US-Mexico border
    US News
  • Unlikely Putin defender
    The unlikeliest US politician comes to the defense of Russia's president, Vladimir Putin
  • iPhone 6 coming soon
    Apple is gearing up for the iPhone 6, orders tens of millions of units
  • Gynecologist settlement
    Johns Hopkins agrees to $190M settlement for patients recorded by gynecologist
    Strange News