Fifty-three percent of the contiguous U.S. had snow on the ground at 7 am Christmas Day. That’s the 2nd highest percent in the 20 years that we’ve been keeping records (with the help of satellite data. The only other year with a higher percent of snow cover was 2009 at 63%. The lowest percent of snow cover on Christmas was 21.2% in 2003. The average percent of snow cover in the contiguous U.S. on Christmas morning is 37.9%.
Sault Ste. Marie was buried in lake-effect snow from Lake Superior. They had a 24-hour total of 20,8″ with a water equivalent of 1.71″. They had 36″ of snow on the ground Christmas morning. In the U.P. the town of Herman also had 36″ of snow on the ground. Other U.P. snow cover reports: 31″ Munising, 28″ Painesdale”, 24″ Watton, 23″ Gaylord, 22″ Ishpeming, 20″ Michigamme, 18″ Champion, Marquette, and Ironwood, 16″ Watersmeet, 15″ Sawyer and Iron Mt., 13″ St. Ignace, 12″ Garden Corners, 9″ Stambaugh and Norway, 6″ Green Garden.
Drifting snow during blizzard conditions naturally makes it difficult to precisely measure newly fallen snow. Based on the many reports that have been sent in, it appears that the December 22 to 25 snow totals fell into roughly these ranges when averaged out, with some higher drifts. Frequent wind gusts of 35 to 45 mph (a few gusts to 55 mph) were recorded on December 23 with quarter mile visibility or less especially in West Michigan downwind of Lake Michigan, and temperatures were in the single digits to teens.
Snow cover Christmas morning in northern Lower Michigan: 18″ Fife Lake and Mancelona, 15″ East Jordan, Beulah, Charlevoix, 14″ Traverse City, 12″ Harbor Springs, 9″ Mio, 8″ Saranac and Houghton Lake, 5″ Gladwin, 3″ Standish, E. Tawas and Alpena, 2″ Petoskey.
Snowcover in West Michigan Christmas morning: 21″ four miles northeast of Holland,18″ Holland, 17″ Grand Rapids, 16″ Grandville, 15″ East Grand Rapids, 12″ Muskegon and Fremont, 11″ Gobles and Plainwell, 10″ Paw Paw, 8″ Hastings, 7″ Kalamazoo, White Cloud and Grand Ledge, 5″ Ionia, 4″ Big Rapids.
In E. Michigan – Flint had 5″ of snow on the ground with 3″ at Detroit and Saginaw.
Grand Rapids snowfall events over the last month: Nov. 17-20: 24.0″, Dec. 15-18: 14.0″ and Dec. 22-25: 24.5″ (data from the official National Weather Service weather station for Grand Rapids at the Ford Airport.