Detroit Weather

Detroit WeatherThe southeastern region of Michigan, including Detroit, experiences what meteorologists call a "humid continental" climate. Distinguished by marked differences in seasonal temperatures (hot summers and frigid winters), Detroit is also famous for exhibiting rapid changes in weather that can occur within hours of each other. For example, a spring day may begin as sunny and in the low 50s but could very possibly be overcast and snowing by late afternoon.

Precipitation in Detroit is generally uniform year around, with springtime being slightly more wet than other seasons. Heavy bursts of snow called "lake-effect" snow is possible due to the proximity of Lake Erie and may give the city a foot of snow in a short period. Freezing rain and sleet is also a frequent occurrence during winter and early spring, making driving and walking treacherous.

Detroit Weather Trivia
Average summer temperatures for Detroit range from 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Average winter temperatures range from 25 to 25 degrees Fahrenheit. In 1988, Detroit sweltered under its highest temperature ever recorded--103 degrees Fahrenheit. Alternately, the lowest temperature ever recorded occurred in 1994, when a cold snap forced thermometers to plunge 21 degrees below zero.

Normally, Detroit averages around 33 inches of rain and 42 inches of snow each year. Although thunderstorms are capable of torrential downpours and are a common occurrence during the late spring and summer, tornadoes are somewhat rare in Detroit as well as the rest of Michigan.

Lake-effect snow, which is snow generated when cold air blowing across warm water deposits frozen water vapor on land in the form of snow, has been known to create blizzard-like conditions across Detroit with little warning to its residents. For this reason, Detroit, Chicago and other places bordered by one or more the Great Lakes are often referred to as "snowbelts"

What to Take When Traveling to Detroit
If you are going to be visiting Detroit during the winter, pack plenty of long-sleeve sweaters, appropriately heavy pants, thick socks and warm pajamas. Boots, gloves, long scarves and winter hats are highly recommended as well.

Staying comfortable in Detroit during the summer months means packing light-colored, light-weight shorts and shirts, sandals, sundresses and swim suits if a trip to Lake Erie is on the itinerary. Because Detroit weather is so changeable in the spring and fall, packing a combination of one part winter and one part summer clothes is advisable when visiting during these months.