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(WOOD) — Snow lovers, get ready: The January thaw is about to end, ushering in big changes and a return to winter.
Temperatures the past couple of weeks have averaged nearly three degrees warmer than average and nearly 11 degrees this past week alone.
As you can imagine, this second January thaw has taken a toll on snow cover across the state, especially across the Lower Peninsula.
The average snow depth across the state is near six inches, with most of that in the Lake Superior snowbelt regions. If you recall, between Jan. 22 and Jan. 23, the Upper Peninsula received a decent snow event that set a record in Marquette of 8.5 inches.
This helped replace any snow that was lost from the previous mild weekend.
Thank goodness for snow machines, as they are able to help ski resorts weather these thaws quite well.
Unfortunately, there are a lot winter festivals happening (or supposed to happen) Jan. 26-28. While organizers of WinterWest have canceled Saturday’s event at Mulick Park in Grand Rapids, the Grand Haven Winter Festival is trucking in snow for its event.
The second weekend of Tip-Up-Town USA in the Houghton Lake area is also still on.Ice is still quite thick on Houghton Lake, so they might be able to do some sled racing and other activities. You can check out the conditions with this live skycam of Houghton Lake.
As for snowmobilers, you’ll once again have to hike over the Mighty Mac to find the good snow, once it reopens. That’s what I did last weekend, and we were able to find decent snow in and around the town of Paradise.
The most recent snow storm did yield some snow in the straits area, and according to the most recent trail report from St. Ignace, you can ride out of there now. That was not the case last weekend; you really had to go north of M-28 to get into deep enough snow.
Unfortunately, very little snow is in the forecast for this weekend. The shoreline of Lake Superior will be the only place with accumulating snow in the state.
Temperatures across the U.P. won’t be too warm, especially Sunday, so what snow is up there will stick around. However, any snow left over in lower Michigan will continue to melt.
There are strong signals that this most recent January thaw will come to an end fairly soon. Temperatures the next eight days still remain above average more often than not, but notice the high temperature next Friday. That is when I expect a full scale pattern change to arrive that will bring us back into winter cold and snow.
Signs of that pattern change really begin to show up in the 8-14 day outlook. Arctic air will likely be involved again, just like what we felt in late December into early January.
Combine that with above average precipitation and we will begin the snow replacement process statewide.
The European model 10-day snowfall forecast indicates Michigan will once again return to a winter wonderland.
Once the snow starts to pile up, it ought to stick around for a while, thanks to the cold air.
The persistent weak to moderate La Nina will likely lead to colder than average temperatures that will last into a good portion of March and even April.
Temperatures are expected to be in the 50s Friday, but just know that winter is far from being over. So when the cold and snow return, get out there and take advantage of it. Think snow!
Matt Kirkwood’s Snow Conditions Report is sponsored by Harvey Automotive.