The above map shows the % chance of a White Christmas in Michigan. Here’s some numbers on the chance of 1″ of snow on the ground Christmas morning: Marquette 97%, S. Ste. Marie 95%, Pellston 83%, Alpena 79%, Houghton Lake 75%, Pentwater 70%, Grand Rapids 55%, Detroit 35%. For Grand Rapids, the odds of 5″ or more on the ground is 30% and the odds of 10″ or more on th ground on Christmas morning is just 3%. That’s according to a sheet I’ve saved – I should really spend some time bringing the list up-to-date. There are several different lists that have different percents…but in G.R. the odds of having snow on the ground are slightly better than 50/50.
This is the European model snowfall map…it shows only 2-3″ in the heavier lake zones – but it does give G.R. a little over an inch. The medium blue areas are where the heavier snow should fall. Another storm system could spread snow across Lower Michigan next week.
The Monday AM discussion from the G.R. National Weather Service said:
"IF I HAD TO COME UP WITH SNOW TOTALS AT THIS TIME FOR A MULTI PERIOD EVENT IT WOULD PROBABLY BE ON THE ORDER OF 3-6 INCHES WITH SOME ISOLATED 8 INCH AMOUNTS POSSIBLE. THOSE HIGHEST TOTALS WILL BE UP IN THE NORTHWEST COUNTY WARNING AREA TOWARDS LUDINGTON, BALDWIN AND PENTWATER AND IN THE SOUTHWEST FROM PULLMAN TO SOUTH HAVEN TO BANGOR." This sounded good to me. Accumulations could be 2" or less outside of the lake-effect bands.
The snow starts as the cold air comes in the night of the 23rd-24th IF (big “if”) this is right…we’d have snow on the ground, some slippery driving starting the night of the 23rd/24th, with the possibility of a “flash freeze” Weds. evening or Weds. night. This would certainly be the coldest air of the season so far (which isn’t saying much). When Santa arrives, he’d probably feel like he was back home at the North Pole.
Christmas Day looks no warmer than the low-mid 20s. The European model is similar with the temperature a mile above ground level approaching 0 deg. F. Ski resorts will be making snow 24/7 starting early on the 24th and the period from Christmas to New Years looks pretty good for downhill skiing and boarding. Not everywhere, but there will be places with enough snow for snowmobiling and cross-country skiing after Christmas in parts of Lower MI .
I’ll try and update this thread, so keep coming back for the latest.
Last year on Christmas Day, G.R. had a high of 55° (3rd warmest Christmas Day ever) and then a daily record high temp. of 61° on the 26th. In 2018, we had a high temp. of 32° on Christmas Day with 0.4″ of snow. In 2017, Grand Rapids had 7″ of snow on Christmas Day and a high temp. of 21° with a low temp. of 9°. That year it was very cold from Christmas through Jan. 6 – those 13 days were 19° colder than average!