Snow Conditions Report: Dec. 3, 2020

Snow Conditions

The Snow Conditions Report is sponsored by Jacobson Heating & Cooling.

Can you be excited and disappointed at the same time? My excitement rises as this is my first snow conditions report of the season, with the prospect of snow and all the fun you can have with it. The disappointment, as you might guess, is the fact we are missing the key ingredient: SNOW! So this first report will focus on when a colder and snowier pattern will arrive.

If you watched Storm Team 8’s winter outlook, we mentioned that this winter will be strongly influenced by La Niña conditions in the tropical Pacific. This typically results in a slow start to winter as is currently occurring. You can see the lack of snow across Michigan. Below is a satellite view from a little over 22,000 miles above the earth. You can see how close we came from the previous storm.

Here’s the statewide snow cover, which for a lack of better definition, is a bit pathetic. Not often during December will you have snow on the ground in Detroit and not the Soo. Only 22% of the state is covered with snow. Last year on Dec. 3 it was 74%!

A warm November with several 70-degree days curtailed any decent snow across the state.

Most La Niña winters are slow to start. Averaging the snow from previous La Niña winters shows that there’s typically a snowfall deficit in December and January. We tend to make up for it in February.

Normally, this is where I talk about the chance of snow in the coming days and week ahead. Unfortunately, there’s not much to highlight. Below is the European model snow forecast for the week. Once again, Michigan misses out on a system passing east of us.

So the question remains: when will a snowier pattern arrive? It looks like around mid-December. For the first time in a long time the 8- to 14-day temperature outlook does not have above-average temperatures over us. This signals a change to colder weather.

The European and the GFS models show signs of the cold building around that time frame. The blue on the map below represents where the trough position is forecast. If correct, that would certainly ignite the lake-effect snow machine.

This should be enough to get most ski resorts open, at least with limited runs either next weekend or the following. Once it arrives, will it hold? The answer is probably not. Hopefully, we can squeeze a white Christmas out of it, but I’m not betting on it.

So it looks like a season of feast or famine and my Snow Conditions Report, updated each week, will be there highlighting it, either way, through the winter.


The Snow Conditions Report is sponsored by Jacobson Heating & Cooling.