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mild winter

Warm weather putting winter tourism at risk in Michigan

Feb 21, 2017
Vince Pahkala / Wikimedia Commons

Planning your next winter excursion in Michigan could get harder this year. 

Unusually warm temperatures throughout the state, including record highs in certain areas over the weekend, have led tourism experts and representatives to question whether enough snow will stay on the ground to support outdoor activities. 

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The U.S. Forest Service has put out a report on how our warming climate is affecting forests in the U.P.

Stephen Handler is a climate change specialist with the Forest Service. He says, over the past several decades, we’ve been getting more extreme rainstorms in the region.

“So, more rain of two inches at a time, three inches at a time; and we’re seeing our winters, which is our characteristic climatic feature, shrinking, so, getting shorter and getting more variable, or getting less consistent snowpack,” he says.

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Warmer weather wasn't the only factor lowering heating bills in Michigan this winter, but it sure helped.

The Michigan Public Service Commission notes that lower natural gas prices also contributed to lower heating bills in the state. Roughly 80 percent of Michigan households use natural gas for home heating

But the biggest factor probably was the weather. The state agency said Friday that temperatures were around 20 percent warmer than normal during the recently completed November through March heating season.