The climate of 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
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
. 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.
Spring weather in Michigan
Spring in Michigan
is a period of renewal and transition. The season ushers in a change from the coldness of winter to milder temperatures. Precipitation in spring is substantial, with rain being a constant feature. Thunderstorms, often accompanied by hail, are frequent, especially in the state's northwestern part of the Lower Peninsula. By the end of spring, the state is thoroughly prepared for the warmth and activities of summer.
Summer weather in Michigan
Summers in Michigan
are characterized by warmth and sunlight. The days are typically defined by lake breezes that emerge from the prevailing winds near the lakeshore and extend inland. On rare occasions, temperatures in the north can touch 90°F (32.2°C), but they average 14 days in the south. Thunderstorms provide the main source of rainfall during the summer months, ensuring the state remains green and lush.
Autumn weather in Michigan
Autumn brings with it cloud-covered skies, a result of cold air passing over the still-warm lakes. Despite the increased cloudiness, the season is cherished for its vibrant foliage. Rain is frequent, and the northwestern part of the Lower Peninsula experiences a heightened frequency of hailstorms. The temperatures begin their descent, preparing Michigan
for the incoming winter months.
Winter weather in Michigan
Winters in Michigan
are severe and snowy. Daytime temperatures often remain below the freezing point for prolonged periods. The Upper Peninsula's northern areas experience temperatures below 0°F (-17.8°C) during the season. Light, steady rain characterizes the winter months, with parts of the state recording snowfall between 40" (1016mm) to 120" (3048mm). Certain western areas of both peninsulas even document snowfall in the range of 150" (3810mm) to 180" (4572mm) annually. The cold and snow might deter some, but for snow enthusiasts, Michigan's winter is a wonderland.
Weather in January
stands as one of the coldest months in Michigan
, with temperatures often plunging to their annual lows. The Upper Peninsula's northern areas, notably near Lake Superior, bear the brunt of the cold, with temperatures frequently diving below 0°F (-17.8°C). Weather in January »
Weather in February
, while still entrenched in winter, begins to show the earliest signs of a transition. Although the month remains frigid, there's a subtle uptick in temperatures when compared to January
. The Upper Peninsula, especially near Lake Superior, still contends with the chill, often experiencing temperatures that can drop below 0°F (-17.8°C). Weather in February »
Weather in March
ushers in the initial hints of spring for Michigan
, presenting a noticeable change from the profound winter of the preceding months. This period showcases a gradual yet evident rise in temperatures. While the Upper Peninsula, particularly regions close to Lake Superior, may still face sporadic wintry conditions, the overall climate starts to tilt towards milder temperatures. Weather in March »
Weather in April
heralds a pronounced shift towards spring, with temperatures consistently inching upwards and landscapes gradually turning green. Daytime temperatures across the state often settle between 40°F (4.4°C) to 50°F (10°C). Weather in April »
Weather in May
signifies the full embrace of spring. The state bathes in warmer temperatures, with daily averages frequently ranging from 50°F (10°C) to 60°F (15.6°C). By this time, the cold hold that the Upper Peninsula, especially areas proximate to Lake Superior, had over the region is nearly a distant memory. Weather in May »
Weather in June
marks the commencement of summer in Michigan
, bringing with it longer days and a significant rise in temperatures. The state enjoys daily averages commonly hovering between 60°F (15.6°C) to 70°F (21.1°C). Even the Upper Peninsula and areas close to Lake Superior, which once bore the brunt of winter's chill, now bask in the warmth of the summer sun. The state's expansive water bodies, especially the Great Lakes, play a vital role during this month. Weather in June »
Weather in July
stands as the zenith of summer in Michigan
, often showcasing the warmest temperatures of the year. Throughout the month, the state experiences daily temperature averages generally fluctuating between 70°F (21.1°C) to 80°F (26.7°C). Weather in July »
Weather in August
presents a continuation of summer warmth, though subtle shifts hint at the encroaching fall season. Daytime temperatures during this month often range from the low 70s°F to upper 70s°F. While the heat remains consistent in the early parts of August, the latter half begins to see slightly cooler nights, particularly in the Upper Peninsula and areas adjacent to Lake Superior. The Great Lakes, ever influential in Michigan's climate, continue to regulate temperatures. Weather in August »
Weather in September
acts as a bridge between summer's warmth and autumn's crispness. The month witnesses a noticeable drop in temperatures, with daily averages oscillating between 60°F (15.6°C) to 70°F (21.1°C). Weather in September »
Weather in October
heralds a profound shift in Michigan
's atmospheric demeanor. The month greets residents with distinctly cooler days, where temperatures typically span from 50°F (10°C) to 60°F (15.6°C). By now, the Upper Peninsula and locales close to Lake Superior witness even chillier conditions, underscoring the deepening embrace of fall. The Great Lakes, that have long been temperate guardians of Michigan's climate, reflect the falling mercury. Weather in October »
Weather in November
marks the state's steady progression into the heart of winter. Temperatures during this month experience a significant decline, generally hovering between 40°F (4.4°C) to 40°F (4.4°C). The Upper Peninsula and areas adjacent to Lake Superior often experience even cooler conditions, with occasional dips below freezing, especially as the month progresses. The influence of the Great Lakes, while constant, becomes more subtle. Weather in November »
Weather in December
signifies the commencement of the authentic winter season. Temperatures throughout this month continue their downward trajectory, predominantly ranging from 20°F (-6.7°C) to 30°F (-1.1°C). The more northern regions, such as the Upper Peninsula and areas neighboring Lake Superior, often bear the brunt of even colder conditions, with frequent sub-freezing temperatures becoming the norm. The Great Lakes, while still not entirely frozen, play a crucial role in influencing Michigan's December weather. Weather in December »