Snow Conditions Report: Dec. 22, 2017


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The warm temperatures this past week really put a dent in the area snow cover, especially in southern lower Michigan.

We went from a solid 96 percent snow coverage last weekend to 74 percent this weekend. However, good news could be on the horizon for snow-lovers: Over the next couple of weeks and possibly beyond, we will be adding to the snow pack with no snow melt projected beyond Saturday.

The snow recovery process should begin later this weekend. It has already begun in areas across northern lower Michigan, where a fresh 1-4 inches of snow has fallen (4 inches in Alpena and 3 inches in Gaylord and the Houghton/Higgins Lake area.)

At least there was enough snow last weekend to have fun in. My buddies and I rode Trail 19 out of Ravenna to nearly Muskegon and we were fairly impressed with the conditions. I then traveled up north to Caberfae with the kids Sunday and the conditions for skiing were ideal. I was pleased to see a lot of snowmobilers as well, while I was heading back.

Of course with the recent warming, that is not the case this weekend. I talked to one rider who said the trails took a beating, and by Monday the trails in the Cadillac area were “snirt” (a snow-dirt combination) in some sections.

As far as skiers are concerned, conditions appear great. All resorts are open and once Sunday arrives, they will be able to make snow nonstop for weeks. Schuss Mountain is even offering free skiing with Santa Christmas Day.

This map shows statewide snow cover as of Friday, Dec. 22.
This map shows the snow depth in southern lower Michigan as of Friday, Dec. 22.
This map shows snow depth in northern Michigan, as of Friday, Dec. 22.

A weak system may side-swipe the southern sections of Michigan later Sunday. As that system departs, it will drag down very cold air that will trigger lake-effect snow into Christmas Day, the heaviest of which appears will fall Sunday night through Monday morning, hopefully leading to a white Christmas.

This map shows the snow forecast through Sunday night.

A lot of us get to enjoy a holiday vacation beyond Christmas Day and snowfall amounts appear robust, as arctic air settles in and generates days of lake-effect snow.

This map shows the European model’s 10-day snowfall forecast through the end of the year.

There is no snow melt period in the immediate future. So whatever snow falls will stick around through at least the second week of January. Notice how we cool this weekend:

This map shows predicted high temperatures for Saturday, Dec. 23.
This map shows predicted high temperatures for Sunday, Dec. 24.
This chart shows the temperature trends, with the coldest air of the season to date arriving after Christmas.

Once it arrives it will but tough to dislodge, so the snowpack will deepen.

This map shows the 8-14 day temperature outlook through Jan. 4.
This map shows the European model temperature anomaly through Jan. 9.

Combine that with above-average amounts of precipitation through Jan. 4, and you have the recipe to have fun in a whole lot of snow just about anywhere you want in the state.

This map shows the 8-14 day precipitation outlook through Jan. 4.

——

Matt Kirkwood’s Snow Conditions Report is sponsored by Harvey Automotive.