The interior location of Michigan in the northern part of North America results in a continental climate, characterized by four definite seasons with moist, mild to hot summers and snowy, cold winters. Winds off of Lakes Michigan and Superior in winter create heavy snow accumulations in nearby areas. The tempering effects of Lake Michigan account for the presence of the state’s famous fruit-growing belt along the lake’s shore. Since the water is colder than the land in spring, the westerly winds passing over the lake tend to keep temperatures low enough on land to retard the opening of young buds until the danger of frost is over.
In fall the water is warmer than the land and therefore the growing season is longer than in the interior of the state. Overall, the growing season is longer near the lakeshore. Detroit, in the south, has an average January low temperature of -9° C (16° F) and a July average high of 29° C (83° F). The January low in Sault Sainte Marie, in the north, is -15° C (5° F), and the July average high is 25° C (76° F). The Lower Peninsula has cold winters and hot summers; the Upper Peninsula has severe winters and mild summers.
January averages for the state as a whole range between about -12° and -3° C (about 10° and 27° F), and the range in July falls between about 16° and 23° C (about 60° and 74° F). Precipitation is fairly uniform over the state. It generally ranges from about 660 mm (about 26 in) yearly in the interior of the Lower Peninsula to about 910 mm (about 36 in) in the extreme southern part of the state. It is also fairly evenly distributed throughout the year. Snowfall is heaviest in the northern portion of the Upper Peninsula, the higher elevations of the northern Lower Peninsula, and areas along Lakes Michigan and Superior. The southeastern region of the Lower Peninsula receives relatively little snowfall. © Emmanuel Buchot and Encarta
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