Milder temperatures, less snow in the 2018-2019 winter forecast

Every year the Farmer's Almanac comes out with its winter predictions. It's easy to take their forecast with a grain of salt, but this year the FOX 2 Weather Authority thinks they might have gotten things pretty close.

Before we get into the forecast, it's important to understand what's normal for any given year. Generally, between the months of November and March, we get about 41" of snow. Average temps are in the high 40s for November, mid 30s for December, and then bottom out in the low 30s the last couple weeks of January before they gradually climb back up.

So, what's changing this year? 

As we come out of a neutral pattern when it comes to El Niño and La Niña, we're coming into an El Niño year. So, what is typical for El Niño?

An El Niño year typically means milder temperatures in the central portion of the country - including Michigan - with the colder air bottled up to the north in Canada. 

The last time we had a pattern just like this was the winter of 1986-1987. That winter shaped up to give us 48" of snow. The Weather Team doesn't think that will happen this winter, though. 

There's a 70 percent chance the El Niño will form this season, which means we'll be dealing with more milder temperatures than we're used to. The cold air is going to spread into the East Coast, maybe even as far south as the Carolinas, but the Weather Authority doesn't think that will include Michigan for our entire winter season. 

November and December are shaping up to be milder. That means, the worst winter months are likely going to be January and February. That itself isn't unusual, but with November and December being milder it could make this winter feel pretty good -- and short. It means we've only got two to two and a half months for the harsh winter temps and conditions to shape up. The Weather Team also thinks we'll see less than 40" of snow, too.