This pattern certainly has not been conducive to snow. The past half month has brought above-average temperatures with no measurable precipitation. While very little snow is piling up, the deficits certainly are.
As we head into this weekend, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo and Muskegon are all exceeding a snow deficit of 1 foot or more. Even Marquette, after the record-setting snowy month of October, is running a deficit of 10 inches.
This type of pattern has obviously affected snow across the state. The year-to-year difference is dramatic.
Areas north of Grand Rapids have an excellent chance this weekend of putting a substantial dent in those deficits. An area of low pressure will track from the South-Central Plains to Southern Lower Michigan.
It will tap a lot of Gulf moisture but very little cold air. As a result, there will be a combination of rain and snow with a very sharp cutoff between both. The transition line will likely be found just north of I-96.
Locations from Grand Rapids to the south will receive mostly rain to the tune of an inch or two. Areas to the north will end up shoveling.
Both the European and GFS model have come into better agreement with the placement of the heaviest snow north of Muskegon, Grand Rapids and Saginaw.
The sweet spot for the heavy, wet snow will be in the area of Ludington, Big Rapids, Mount Pleasant, Cadillac, Lake City and Houghton Lake. I would expect amounts in these cities to be at least 6 inches.
Of course, this is great news for ski resorts across Northern Michigan. All of them have been making as much snow as possible and Mother Nature is finally going to pitch in. Here’s a shot of Boyne Highlands on Thursday with the resort’s snow-making efforts.
SKIERS: Checking the websites, it appears only Nubs Nob will be open this weekend with limited runs. Next up, Boyne Mountain and Highlands will open to season pass holders on Dec. 16 and to the remainder of the public on Dec. 19. At this stage, they will have two chair lifts running to accommodate three runs. Caberfae, Crystal Mountain, Schuss Mountain and Shanty Creek also plan to open their slopes the weekend of Dec. 19.
SNOWMOBILIERS: You maybe able to dig your carbides in some fresh and likely ungroomed snow in and around the trails of Baldwin, Cadillac and Houghton Lake area by Sunday morning, but with mild temperatures lately there isn’t any base. Stay tuned for snow reports this weekend.
Now that we finally have some decent snow expected north, will it stick around? Although next week looks consistently cooler, there’s still no real cold, Arctic air in sight. It does remain cold enough at night for the ski resorts to continue snow-making efforts.
Unfortunately, beyond that, it appears Pacific air masses will dominate the overall pattern for a while as indicated by the 8- to 14-day temperature outlook. I’ve rarely seen an outlook that blankets the entire nation with above-average temperatures.
That won’t bode well for those of us dreaming for a white Christmas or playtime in the snow.
Check back next week for a new Snow Conditions Report!
The Snow Conditions Report is sponsored by Jacobson Heating & Cooling.