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Warmer Lake Michigan could affect LE potential

Lake Michigan temperatures are currently holding in the lower 70s, thanks to this most recent heat wave. That's good news for beachgoers as the water will be very refreshing with another warm high today. However, compared to the last 20 to 25 years, we are very warm as water temperatures should be into the low to middle 60s by this time of year. These warmer waters could potentially have an impact on the amount of lake-effect snow we see this year.

A warmer Lake Michigan in the late fall and winter months could increase the chances of seeing lake-effect snow and/or rain throughout the season. Snow bands also have the potential of reaching farther inland and we could even have more lake-effect events if the waters remain on the warm side. Lastly, warmer waters could lead to less ice on the lake, allowing for more LE events later in the season.

However, air temperatures will directly affect the lakes over the winter months. If our air temperatures stay on the warm side throughout the fall and winter months, the lakes will stay that way as well, propping up those lake-effect chances. If we stay near, or even below, average, lakes will return to near-average temperatures, and we'll lose the warmer air over the water and chances for lake-effect events should lessen some. 

Very warm water temperatures for late September. Every spot reporting lower 70s this morning.

8 degrees warmer than average for Lake Michigan. It doesn't sound like much now, but this could help the lake-effect machine this winter.


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