Snow Conditions Report: Dec. 13, 2019

The theme this week, and likely through the remainder of December, will be to travel north. While much of Lower Michigan has been melting snow recently, that was not the case this previous Thursday across the U.P.

With the recent snowfall, there are a few stations that have received more than 80 inches of snow this season. That includes Calumet, Painsdale and Grand Marais.

Last week when I did this report, there was 68% statewide snow coverage. Now it’s at 63%, with nearly all of that loss across Lower Michigan.

Below is the snow depth as reported on Dec. 13.

Southern Lower Michigan:

Northern Lower and the Upper Peninsula:

The Lower Michigan snow depth, in inches, as of Dec. 13:

  • Cadillac: 2
  • Traverse City: 4
  • Houghton Lake: 0
  • Kalkaska: 3
  • Lake City: 1
  • East Jordan: 9
  • Lewiston: 2
  • Charlevoix: 4
  • Gaylord: 4
  • Waters: 6
  • Cheboygan: 4
  • Petoskey: 6
  • Alpena: 2

Upper Michigan:

  • St. Ignace: 10
  • Soo: 7
  • Paradise: 15
  • Munising: 16
  • Marquette: 25
  • Big Bay: 19
  • Manistique: 15
  • Houghton: 15
  • Calumet: 21
  • Iron Mtn:. 15
  • Escanaba: 17
  • Painsedale: 35
  • Ironwood: 21

There is not a lot of snow in the weekend forecast but a cold front will move through later Saturday that will drive down temperatures enough to spark some accumulating lake-effect snows. Most of the snow belt regions will receive 1 to 3 inches Saturday night into early Sunday.

The 10-day snow forecast from the European and GFS models show modest snowfall potential in the next 10 days. Most amounts will be below average for this time period, including those in Grand Rapids and Traverse City.

Temperatures will be warmer Saturday but not warm enough to melt much, if any snow.

You can see why the lake-effect snow kicks in Sunday with the colder air in place. Most of the state will have highs in the teens and 20s, certainly where there is a snow pack. A brisk northerly wind on Sunday will keep wind chills in the teens and single digits.

A couple times this upcoming week the Great Lakes will be side-swiped with an Arctic air mass. One will happen this weekend and and the other will happen during the mid-part of the week.

Notice how the core of the Arctic air stays in Canada under the deep purple. That means the greatest lak- effect potential will not be achieved.

It’s possible after Wednesday’s brief intrusion of Arctic air that we may end much of December with warmer-than-average temperatures.

Here’s the latest 8- to 14-day outlook that takes us through Christmas. During that time, we average a little more than 5 inches of snow in Grand Rapids.

Below is the North America temperature anomaly for January, according to the American model. The European model mimics this idea as well. It indicates colder-than-average temperatures will return for the new year.

SNOWMOBILERS: Once again, snowmobiling conditions will be much better across the U.P. The snow across Northern Lower just isn’t enough in most locations. However, there is a sweet spot near the East Jordan trails that you can likely find some decent snowmobile conditions.

The groomer and snow clubs have been working hard to clear any remaining debris from the trails. Still, ride with caution, especially in low-lying trails near streams, rivers and swampy areas that will likely be water hazards.

SKIERS: Just like snowmobilers, if you plan to ski this weekend, you’ll have to hike north. The exception will be Bittersweet, which is currently open for weekend skiing. Looking at the ski resort and their reports, they’ve had an excellent week of snow-making and that will continue through the weekend. Thank you “man-made” snow!

Slopes open for the season for Caberfae, Crystal and Boyne Mountains, Boyne Highlands and Nubs Nob. Schuss Mountain/Shanty Creek open Saturday for the season.

As I mentioned earlier, the winter season of 2019-20 looks great, so plan your fun in the snow. Whenever you need an update on snow depth, forecast snow amounts, short- and longer-range temperatures trends, you can always check out my Snow Conditions Report, which is updated every Friday throughout the winter season.


The Snow Conditions Report is sponsored by Jacobson Heating & Cooling and Schuss Mountain at Shanty Creek Resort.