Snow Conditions Report: Dec. 16, 2021

Snow Conditions

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — As I write this, West Michigan once again found itself on the warm side of a strong storm. The result: snow-eating record highs in the 50s and 60s were achieved.

The Gaylord NWS reported 5 inches of snow on the ground on Dec.14 and just a trace the following day. Snow cover across the state Monday stood at 57% and now it’s 34%. Ouch!

December temperatures halfway through the month are running +3.3 degrees in Grand Rapids, + 3.9 in Gaylord and +2.5 in Sault Ste. Marie.

The average snow depth across the state is a meager 1.7 inches with nearly all of it in the U.P. You can see how the Lake Superior snowbelt regions are still hanging onto snow. I just saw a post from Rapid River, Michigan in the U.P. where they went from 20 inches of snow last weekend to POOF all gone.

You can see how the Lake Superior snowbelt regions are still hanging onto snow.

Here’s a few snow depths:

Lower Peninsula

  • Cadillac: 1
  • Houghton Lake: 2
  • Traverse City: T
  • Kalkaska: 3
  • East Jordan: T
  • Charlevoix: 1
  • Cheboygan: 0
  • Gaylord: 3
  • Waters: T
  • Petoskey: T

Upper Peninsula

  • St. Ignace: 4
  • Soo: 11
  • Paradise: 10
  • Grand Marais: 18
  • Manistique: 10
  • Munising: 14
  • Marquette: 7

Now that this storm has departed it appears the snow melt will stop as colder air advection moves across the state this weekend. Unfortunately the airmass won’t be cold enough to generate widespread, significant snow. A southern stream system will graze Lower Michigan with 1-2 inches of snow with a mix possible I-94 south.

As Saturday’s system departs, light lake effect snow will be left behind.

We won’t add much snow this weekend but at least we won’t be melting any either. Plus, it will be cold enough at night to make snow for the resorts.

European model weekend snow forecast:

GFS model weekend snow forecast:

Temperatures will be quite tolerable. High temperatures Saturday will peak in the 20s across the U.P. and low to mid 30s Northern Lower.

Highs Sunday will be slightly cooler in the Eastern U.P. and Northern Lower.

SKIERS

All resorts were closed Thursday due to the strong wind. Now that things have calmed down, let’s go skiing — that is if your destination didn’t lose power. Make sure to check ahead.

BITTERSWEET: Closed until further notice

CANNONSBURG: Closed until further notice. Although it is open if you want to tour 1/2 mile walk through the Glowing Forest. It’s open Friday 6-8pm and Saturday 5-8pm.

CABERFAE: Open Friday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Night skiing begins December 26th.

CRYSTAL: Open Friday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

SCHUSS: Open Friday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and weekdays 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Night skiing begins December 26th.

BOYNE MOUNTAIN: Open daily starting this Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Night skiing begins Wednesday, Dec. 22.

BOYNE HIGHLANDS: Same as Boyne Mountain.

NUB’S NOB: Open daily from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

SNOWMOBILERS

I saw so many great pictures from fellow snowmobiler’s out last weekend hitting the trails. I’m thoroughly jealous. If your thumb is still itching to grab some throttle, head directly across the the bridge. There’s not enough decent snow after the recent melt off to even bother with Northern Lower.

LOWER NORTHERN MICHIGAN

No go for snowmobiler’s this weekend.

EASTERN U.P.

Not good either and certainly not as good as last weekend. Here’s a report from Pam Toncray in Schoolcraft: “Well, cruel truth: its essentially GONE. There is a thin fragile base in the covered areas but there is a TON of bare trail AND water EVERYWHERE!” Poor trail conditions across the board also reported around the Newberry trail network.

If you are determined to ride this weekend, your best bet is Munising, over to Shingleton, Seney and Grand Marais. Don’t expect great trail conditions.

CAUTIONARY NOTE: If you plan to ride this weekend be very careful and look out for any fallen branches/trees after Thursday’s wind event.

LOOKING AHEAD

There are signals that things will improve. The latest 8-14 day outlook has near to slightly below normal temps across Michigan with slightly above average precipitation. With average highs hovering around the freezing mark there’s a chance that whatever precipitation falls it will be snow.

The NOA teleconnection is hinting at a colder pattern as well around Christmas and beyond. When you see the blue and green lines below the “zero” threshold then the pattern typically becomes colder.

The Canadian model supports this idea as well for the final week of December.

Even though this weekend may be discouraging, remember astronomical winter officially starts on Dec. 21 at 10:59 a.m. so we have plenty more to go. Have fun in whatever snow you can find this weekend and hopefully next week Storm Team 8 will have better news.


The Snow Conditions Report is sponsored by Schuss Mountain at Shanty Creek Resort.

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