Snow Conditions Report: Dec. 27, 2019

In my past several Snow Conditions Reports, I implored everyone to travel north for the best (only) snow. So my friend Pat and I took my own advice and we ventured north.

It was a special weekend as we brought our sons for the first time. Trails that we rode were nearly perfect, with the exception of Trail 452 north from Trail 8. This is where we ran across a few downed trees from the late November wind event.

The pictures were taken where Trail 8 and 452 meet west of Paradise.

Mr. Veen opened up his beautiful cabin along side the Tahquamenon River in Paradise. Check out the snow on the bird house on his deck.

While the boys ventured across the bridge my wife and daughter stayed closer to home and hit the slopes of Caberfae where they had ideal conditions as well.

Unfortunately, this weekend, it will not make a difference if you go north unless you plan on skiing. If you plan to ski, make sure you go Saturday as opposed to Sunday.

A sea of warmth has invaded much of the U.S. this past week. Temperatures in Grand Rapids are running about 12 degrees above average for the week (record high Thursday) and 2 degrees above average for the month so far. As you can imagine, this has eaten away at the snow across much of the state, even in the U.P. High temperatures only two days in the past two weeks were below freezing.

What snow does remain will continue to melt as a mild weekend is in the forecast.

If you plan to ski this weekend, make sure you do it Saturday as it will be dry.

Last week, we enjoyed a robust 73% snowcover throughout the state with most of that snow across the U.P. The recent stretch of warm temperatures have eaten away nearly 20% of the snowpack with more surely to melt this weekend.

Northern Lower and the Upper Peninsula snow depth as of the morning of Dec. 27:

The Lower Michigan snow depth, in inches, as of December 27:

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

Upper Michigan:

  • St. Ignace: 2
  • Soo: 9
  • Paradise: 15
  • Munising: 16
  • Marquette: 211
  • Big Bay: 20
  • Manistique: 5
  • Houghton: 16
  • Calumet: 23
  • Iron Mtn:. 15
  • Escanaba: 14
  • Painsedale: 38
  • Ironwood: 20

A storm system will move into the Western Great Lakes this weekend. This will place nearly all of Michigan on the warm side of it.

That means areas even in the U.P. will experience temperatures well above freezing along with rain. This combination is very efficient at melting snow.

As a result, there will be more rain than snow but areas in the central and western U.P. will eventually transition over to snow later Sunday.

The 10-day snow forecast from the European and GFS models are a tad more optimistic compared to last week. Much of the advertised snow will arrive as colder air builds in Monday and Tuesday. Both models are quite similar.

There’s still no Arctic air that I see within the medium range outlook. I think we’ll have to wait until sometime after the the tenth of January. The latest 8- to 14-day outlook for the first week of the new year has temperatures much closer to average which would be a significant change compared to where we’ve been lately.

The 8-14 day precipitation outlook has above normal precipitation across the northern sections of the state and near normal to the south. That would likely mean more snow than rain.

SNOWMOBILERS: Lower Michigan unusable. Even though there are sections north of M-28 across the U.P. that you can ride, it won’t be ideal. Reports are they have stopped grooming the trails around the Soo and Newberry and it will difficult to get in and out of gas stations and roads that will be snow-free. This combination will not be good for the life of your carbides. Not only that but it will be raining nearly the entire day Sunday.

SKIERS: Skiers will fair better Saturday with all resorts open. Cannonsburg will be open with tubing as an option.

Slopes are open for the season at Caberfae, Crystal, Schuss Mountain/Shanty Creek, Boyne Mountain/Highland and Nubs Nob.

It is my estimation that this weekend will be one of the least ideal of the winter as I fully expect winter conditions to make a strong return in January. Both February and even into March, like last year, will feature a lot of snow and cold so make sure you set aside time to play in it. 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.