Preparing for Winter in Michigan

Winter weather in Michigan can sometimes begin as early as late October or early November and last through April. If this is your first time experiencing winter weather in Michigan, it may be helpful to review the considerations below!


  • Temperatures change throughout the day, with the coldest temperatures at night. The windchill can make the temperature feel much colder than it actually is. 
    • ❄Average Highs and Lows in Fahrenheit:
      • January: High: 31° Low 19°
      • February: High 34° Low 20°
      • March: High 46° Low 28°
    • ❄ Averages in Celsius:
      • January: High: 0° Low -7°
      • February: High: 1° Low -7°
      • March: High: 8° Low -2°
  • Snowfall varies from year to year and month to month. On snowy days, be sure to leave for class early to account for slower transportation. Beware of ice, especially black ice that is difficult to see.
    • ❄ Average Snowfall Totals in Inches
      • January: 17.3 in
      • February: 21.0 in
      • March: 6.4 in
    • ❄ Average Snowfall Totals in Centimeters
      • January: 43.8 cm
      • February: 53.4 cm
      • March: 16.2 cm
  • Weather Advisories/ Alerts
    • In the event of severe winter weather, university operations could be delayed or canceled. Be sure to subscribe to U-M campus emergency alerts to receive text messages regarding any changes to university or class schedules.
    • During a winter storm be sure to stay indoors. Afterwards, walk slowly and carefully over ice. Facility workers will begin to clear and salt the streets and walkways as soon as possible. Dress warmly and be mindful of any symptoms of a hypothermia or cold medical emergency.


  • Temperatures will change throughout the day, and it is usually much warmer indoors than outdoors. For these reasons, it is important to dress in layers!
  • Look for coats, boots, and gloves/mittens made from waterproof or water resistant materials.
  • Boots should also have traction to make it easier to walk through snow or over wet surfaces.
  • Be sure to wear a hat or cover your head to retain body heat.
  • Winter clothing is available in a variety of price ranges, and clothing stores are accessible by local transit. Some lower cost options include thrift (second-hand) stores such as:

Dressing for Cold Weather

Car Care

  • Due to risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, never leave a vehicle engine running in an enclosed area, such as a garage.
  • Make certain your tires are properly inflated.
  • Keep your gas tank at least half full.
  • Do not use cruise control when driving on any slippery surface (wet, ice, sand).
  • Allow more stopping time and longer time for braking.
  • With an antilock braking system (ABS), when your car skids and you step on the brakes, you may feel a pulsing sensation. This is normal—do not let up on the brakes! ABS will prevent your wheels from locking during a skid, giving you greater steering control. It will not help you stop more quickly, however. So, keep driving slow on ice and snow.
  • Use your seatbelt every time you get into your vehicle.
  • Always bring an ice scraper and brush.
  • Review Michigan Winter Driving Tips

Check out the International Center’s presentation on Preparing for Winter in Michigan for more information!