In general, the terrain elevation increases from the coastal areas along Lake Huron toward the center of the state. The vegetation is a mix of large tracts of national and state forests along with agricultural cropland. Hartwick Pines State Park is one of the last remaining old growth virgin Eastern white pine forests and Au Sable State Forest is home to jack pine barrens.
Lake effects are generally more pronounced in the northern areas of the region as the Lower Peninsula narrows near the Straits of Mackinac.
During periods of strong easterly and northeasterly winds, Lake Huron can have a strong effect on the area’s weather, particularly the coastal areas to the east, resulting in cooler summer temperatures and increased precipitation and snow and in the fall and winter. The inland areas of the division have a largely continental climate, driven primarily by the movement of high and low pressure systems. As such, prolonged periods of hot and humid weather are rare. Lake-effect precipitation, coupled with increasing elevations in the center of the state, is responsible for the “Snowbelt” of Lower Michigan. Sudden, severe snowstorms are not uncommon.