Snow Conditions Report: Dec. 20, 2019

It’s my assumption that the weekend prior to Christmas is not the most busy with family celebrations, tying Christmas shopping then the gifts. But if you can break away this weekend, I would recommend doing so. The extended warmth heading this way is really going to eat the snow by next weekend.

With an 8- to 14-day temperature outlook like this, the prospect for snow, especially snow that will stick around, will be rather low.

Few things melt snow quicker than the combination of warm temperatures and rain. Even though the pattern appears wetter than normal to finish the year, it’s probably going to fall mostly as rain as opposed to the beautiful white stuff.

Just like last week, we had a quick shot of Arctic air pass through and that has done a decent job of enhancing snow depth across the northern sections of the state. Last week we had 63% snow coverage statewide.

Below is the snow depth as reported on Dec. 19. We gained a healthy 13% additional snow from a week ago. Unfortunately, the 76% snow cover across the state will be the peak for awhile.

Southern Lower Michigan: Any remaining snow will melt through the weekend.

Northern Lower and the Upper Peninsula:

The Lower Michigan snow depth, in inches, as of Dec. 20:

  • Cadillac: 4
  • Traverse City: 3
  • Houghton Lake: 1
  • Kalkaska: 8
  • Lake City: 1
  • East Jordan: 10
  • Lewiston: 4
  • Charlevoix: 5
  • Gaylord: 9
  • Waters: 8
  • Cheboygan: 4
  • Petoskey: 5
  • Alpena: 3

Upper Michigan:

  • St. Ignace: 10
  • Soo: 12
  • Paradise: 21
  • Munising: 25
  • Marquette: 27
  • Big Bay: 19
  • Manistique: 9
  • Houghton: 15
  • Calumet: 26
  • Iron Mtn:. 18
  • Escanaba: 16
  • Painsedale: 40
  • Ironwood: 21

Normally in this spot, I put in the statewide snowfall forecast for the weekend ahead. No bother, as there isn’t any. The snowfall outlook for the next 10 days looks abysmal as well:

What this means then is that you need to play in the snow that’s out there this weekend before it disappears. If you do, these are the expected high temperatures on Saturday:

The high temperatures on Sunday will be even warmer:

Every winter has it’s ebbs of temperature fluctuations, so don’t to be too discouraged with the latest warmth. Storm Team 8 still thinks January through March will have lots of cold and snow.

Below is the latest update of 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: South side of the bridge. Reports are that trails are very good from Gaylord to Mackinaw, especially to the west. This would include the Chandler Hills, Jordan Valley and Indian River trails right up to the bridge. Trails are too thin as you head south towards Grayling.

The trails are near perfection across the U.P. You have to continue to exercise caution as the DNR and local snowmobile clubs work at clearing fallen branches and trees. It’s most concentrated in and around the Marquette trail system.

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 but might run into trouble later next week. Thanks to the Arctic air that made a visit last week, most of the ski resorts had them working overtime to pad the bases in anticipation of the warm temperatures headed this way. Hopefully it’s enough to get them through the very busy holiday season.

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. Caberfae is opening the south slope this weekend, too.

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 and 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.