West Michigan’s chance of a white Thanksgiving

An aerial view of the city of Grand Rapids covered in snow. (Courtesy ReportIt/Nov. 19, 2014)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — It appears the cold temperatures that gripped West Michigan earlier this month will stick around.


So far this November, temperatures have been 5.4 degrees below average. Of the past 20 days, 17 have posted below average temperatures.

MAP: How much temperatures across the U.S. are straying from the average, through Nov. 12.

Michigan ski resorts are taking advantage of the cold by making snow, according to Bill’s Blog. Boyne Mountain and Boyne Highlands in northern Michigan opened this past Sunday — its earliest opening in 20 years. Bittersweet Ski Resort near Otsego opened Saturday, also its earliest opening.

“If we can start this early and maybe go into late March, it could be one of the longest seasons,” Bittersweet general manager Victor Gayheart said. “We had two short seasons. It wasn’t terrible, but they were short. Good turnout — great turnout as far as the days we actually were open. But we expect a long season. We’ll see how it goes.”

The cold has not translated into much natural snow here; southwest lower Michigan has recorded just two-tenths of an inch so far this month.

MAP: Snow cover across the U.S. and Canada, as of Nov. 12, 2017.


But don’t rule out the chance of a white Thanksgiving. This year the holiday falls on Nov. 23, and the latest 8-14 day temperature outlook from Nov. 20 through Nov. 26 calls for below average temperatures from the Great Lakes and Mississippi Valley eastward.

MAP: The U.S. temperature outlook for Nov. 20-26.

The lower temps means a higher chance of snowfall across the Great Lakes, especially northern lower Michigan and the Upper Peninsula.

MAP: The European model’s 10-day forecast for snowfall.
MAP: The GFS model’s 10-day forecast for snowfall.

The statistical average for a white Thanksgiving in southwest Michigan is around 30 percent; this year appears there will be a better than 50 percent chance of a white Thanksgiving.

MAP: The chance of a white Thanksgiving across the U.S. and Canada.

So it’s possible you could get a chance to throw a few snowballs or make a snowman to burn off the excess calories of the Thanksgiving feast.

As for a white Christmas, time will tell. The statistical average for a snowy Christmas is about 60 percent for southwest Michigan.


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