Historic lack of snow so far this winter

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — As I was shoveling my driveway this past weekend, it dawned on me that it was the first time I had done that this season. Growing up in Grand Rapids, never do I recall waiting until January to shovel.

Even with the recent snowfall, the lack of season snow remains historic. A glance at Bill’s Blog indicated that we’ve never flipped to a new year with less season total snowfall in Grand Rapids. The 3.7 inches of snow we received to close out the year was the largest snow event of the season in Grand Rapids. Over three-quarters of the winter has been snow-free.

Muskegon and Kalamazoo are running about a third of average season snowfall to date with Grand Rapids only around a quarter.

Warmer than average temperatures remain one of the primary reasons for the lack of snow. Winter temperatures today are running just under four degrees above average.

The mild temperatures indicate a lack of Arctic air. The coldest high and low-temperature Grand Rapids has recorded so far this season is 25 and 15 degrees. Not very cold. In fact, the average low is currently 19 degrees.

A lack of Arctic air equals minimal lake-effect snow. Notice below how little separation there is between the cities on the west and east side of Lake Michigan. Traverse City, which normally receives a large portion of its season snow from the lake-effect actually has less snow than Green Bay.

It’s not just the Lower Peninsula. Marquette and Sault Ste. Marie are both running snow deficits of 20 inches as well.

Here’s the current snow depth map for Jan. 4: At 99%, it’s the most that have covered the state this season. The average snow depth of five inches is still rather low.

We will mostly melt, not add to the snow this week. This means the deficits will continue to expand. During a typical week of January, we average a little over five inches. Not much insight this week as the entire state is forecast an inch or less.

The latest 8-14 day outlook doesn’t appear too promising either with above-average temperatures and precipitation.

For those of you who enjoy the snow or just want to know when to put gas in the snowblower, it appears a pattern change may arrive around the middle of January. The blue shaded regions indicate below-average temperatures.


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