Snow Conditions Report: Jan. 17, 2020

Snow lovers, rejoice!

Lately, I’ve begun my Snow Conditions Report with the suggestion that you have to travel to the U.P. for the best snow. Not this weekend.

System snow on Saturday followed by lake-effect snow on Saturday night through Sunday will blanket most of Lower Michigan with a fresh landscape of white.

This is where we stand now in terms of snow across the state. Keep in mind EVERYONE will add to it this weekend:

This is over a 20% improvement from the previous week, with most locations that have snow have improved their depth.

The Lower Michigan snow depth, in inches, as of Jan. 16:

  • Cadillac: 4
  • Traverse City: 5
  • Houghton Lake: 3
  • Kalkaska: 7
  • Lake City: 2
  • East Jordan: 10
  • Lewiston: 10
  • Charlevoix: 8
  • Gaylord: 12
  • Waters: 13
  • Cheboygan: 6
  • Petoskey: 3
  • Alpena: 6

Upper Michigan:

  • St. Ignace: 7
  • Soo: 12
  • Paradise: 21
  • Munising: 25
  • Marquette: 28
  • Big Bay: 17
  • Manistique: 10
  • Houghton: 23
  • Calumet: 29
  • Iron Mtn:. 13
  • Escanaba: 9
  • Painsedale: 39
  • Ironwood: 18

We’ll add on all those amounts and for the second weekend in a row, an area of low pressure will tap gulf moisture and squeeze it out over Michigan. Fortunately, this round will be more snow than mix, although a mix is still likely south. Snow will arrive from southwest to northeast on Friday evening/night.

Accumulating snow will have blanketed all of the state by Saturday morning, with the heaviest amounts at that time in Southern and Central Lower Michigan.

Low pressure will cross over Lower Michigan with the warm sector reaching areas around I-96. This means areas from I-96 south will likely transition from snow to rain or a mix.

As the wind shifts northerly behind the low pressure and increases, we will transition back to snow and horizontal snow at times.

Strong northwest winds will bring lake-effect snow all the way to the eastern side of the state on Sunday.

How much snow are we going to add? Lets begin with Saturday. I think the RPM model has it handled quite well with a heavy, wet 3 to 6 inches, with isolated amounts that will be higher.

Lake-effect snow will continue to add onto Saturday’s storm amounts. By the end of this weekend, most of Michigan will have added 6 to 12 inches of white gold.

If you plan to play in it, these are highs expected for Saturday:

Highs on Sunday will be colder:

Gusty northwest winds in excess of 30 to 40 mph at times will blow around the fresh snow and produce cold wind chills for Sunday.

The 10-day snowfall forecast through Jan. 26 is not off the charts,but still favorable for keeping the snow around. The GFS model is below:

The European model:

Climate data suggests we’ve entered the coldest time of the year. Temperatures will likely remain conducive in keeping much of the snow around for a while.

The latest 8- to 14-day temperature outlook from Jan. 24 to Jan. 30 has Michigan avoiding Arctic air, with above- to near-normal temperatures.

The 8- to 14-day precipitation outlook for the same time frame has the storm track south of Michigan:

Good news for snow lovers, as the latest CFS (American model) appears to be cold:

The recently updated Climate Prediction Center forecast for February indicates that as well:

SNOWMOBILERS: This will be the best weekend so far across Northern Lower Michigan, especially by later Saturday. I checked the various reports. You can even get out of the Baldwin area, but the snow currently is thin in most spots.

In the Cadillac area, Coyote Crossings (Pete) said the trails are good from there up to Mesick with a few thin spots on Trail 6 south and west of Caberfae. The Grayling area is looking good but it’s a little thin towards Houghton Lake for the first weekend of Tip-Up-Town.

If you are heading further north, there are even better trail conditions to be found and the groomers are smoothing them out for your riding enjoyment. The north end of Trail 76 still has a few water hazards that are marked. If you are over in the Mancelona area, their conditions were great. When I was up in the Paradise area last weekend, there were a few water holes and soft spots. Groomers have been working hard at filling these in. For instance, groomers were able to fill in holes and soft spots on Trail 45 so you can get all the way to the Lower Falls.

Below is a picture of me outside of the popular Pine Stump Junction restaurant. Some of the best pizza I’ve ever stuffed into my mouth.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get very far on my second day of riding. I blew out my rear bogey wheels heading down Trail 45, which was in excellent condition the first several miles I was on it. I did get to meet Jimmy McHugh, who is local out of the Grand Rapids area and loves to drag race snowmobiles.

He looked at my broken-down sled and said he and his son Kyle could fix it. Sure enough, I had it back by the following Wednesday. Thanks, guys! By the way, if you would like to watch them race, he’ll be in Mancelona racing at the Jimmy Rice event this Saturday. He asked if I would like to race one of his sleds (of course!) but I’ll have to take a rain check as I already have family plans.

SKIERS: It looks a like a great weekend for skiers and tubers as well, as long as you don’t mind doing those activities in falling snow. Hey, you may actually get some powder to play in!

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

Crystal Mountain Resort is hosting a “World Snow Day” that is geared around teaching first-time skiers the ins and outs of skiing through various activities. If you are heading to Boyne Highlands and want to stay for some evening entertainment, the The Marsupials will be playing at the Slopeside Lounge. If you are at Boyne Mountain, you can sign up through their website for the Summit-To-Stein’s Snowshoe Supper. Details are here on its Facebook page.

If you are going to Nub’s Nob, they are offering a free beginner lesson for you and your child at the terrain park. This is called Shaggy’s Park Education Clinic. More details can be found on its Facebook page. I hope you can find some time to have fun in the snow this weekend.

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.