Snow Conditions Report: Dec. 6, 2019

Snow Conditions

It’s time to start another season of the Snow Conditions Report, and if you are a fan of snow and all the fun you can have in it, I think it’s going to be a stellar winter.

Storm Team 8’s winter projection breaks down why I’m so excited. A cold November (10th coldest in Grand Rapids) helped lay down a decent snowpack across the U.P.

Many locations across the U.P. are reporting over 1 foot of snow with some in excess of 2 feet! Not bad for early December.

Below is a tally of the the snow depth across the state.

Southern Lower Michigan:

Northern Lower and the Upper Peninsula:

Lower Michigan snow depth in inches:

  • Cadillac: 8
  • Traverse City: 4
  • Houghton Lake: 4
  • Kalkaska: 5
  • Lake City: 4
  • East Jordan: 2
  • Lewiston: 5
  • Charlevoix: 1
  • Gaylord: 3
  • Waters: 7
  • Cheboygan: 5
  • Petoskey: 4
  • Alpena: 6

Upper Michigan:

  • St. Ignace: 9
  • Soo: 4
  • Paradise: 6
  • Munising: 17
  • Seney: 18
  • Marquette: 24
  • Big Bay: 14
  • Manistique: 15
  • Houghton: 12
  • Calumet: 16
  • Iron Mtn:. 14
  • Escanaba: 20
  • Painsedale: 26
  • Ironwood: 19

Unfortunately, additional snowfall this weekend will be virtually non-existent.

We’ll be melting a fair amount of snow this Sunday into Monday, but don’t fret. It appears a strong blast of Arctic air will first bring in light system snow Tuesday with additional lake-effect Wednesday and Thursday.

The 10-day snow forecast from the European and GFS models show the snow replacement, especially across typical lake-effect snowbelts. The maps below show a 10:1 ratio and snow amounts that very well could be higher with lighter and drier snow typical with Arctic air masses.

The map below shows the heart of the Arctic air arriving during the middle of next week. It will likely bring the coldest of air of the season to date with potential highs only in the teens with widespread wind chills potentially below zero Wednesday.

This time around, the Arctic air will be a quick shot and NOT lock in place. The air will already begin to modify by Thursday.

If you are going to make the commitment to ski or snowmobile this weekend, temperatures will be more ideal Saturday. High temperatures will be in the 20s where there’s a decent snowpack.

Everyone across the state will hit highs above the freezing mark Sunday.

If you recall, last year the winter went on a 50-day hiatus with Grand Rapids recording it’s second least amount of snow for December. I don’t expect that this year, although the temperature forecast from NOAA/NWS is forecasting the chance of above average temperatures for December.

I’m not in agreement. I think the latest CFS run has a better idea of December’s temperatures. It indicates below average temperatures throughout much of the eastern half of the U.S.

SNOWMOBILERS: If you plan to snowmobile this weekend, you will have to travel across the Mighty Mac for decent snowmobiling. The base is just setting up on some of the trails there, but not established across the Lower Michigan yet. This means not enough snow yet for grooming. There are indications that grooming won’t start in earnest until mid-December for many trails.

When you find the snow, be aware that there are still a few trees and branches down from November’s last snow storm. The local snowmobile clubs are working hard trying to clear them, so please ride with caution. Also, this has been an exceptionally wet year across the state. This means low-lying trails near streams, rivers and swampy areas will likely be water hazards for awhile until we get enough cold air to freeze it over.

SKIERS: Just like snowmobilers, if you plan to ski this weekend, you’ll have to drive north. Thanks to man-made snow, you will not have to travel as far. But even man-made snow isn’t enough at times as Cannonsburg and Bittersweet are closed for now.

Slopes open Friday through the weekend for Boyne Highlands and Mountain with Mountain projected to stay open for the remainder of the season. Nubs Nob will open Saturday and Sunday and is expected to stay open permanently through the remainder of the season beginning Dec. 13. Shanty Creek is open this weekend and when you wind down skiing, you can head to the quaint town of Bellaire for the “Light Up the Night and Soup Cook Off.” Caberfae is open Saturday and Sunday but the South slope is still closed for now. Crystal Mountain opens this weekend with 22 runs available to carve up.

As I mentioned earlier, the winter season of 2019-20 looks great, so plan your fun in the snow. Whenever you need an update on snow depth, forecast snow amounts, short- and longer-range temperatures trends, you can always check out my Snow Conditions Report which is updated every Friday throughout the winter season.


The Snow Conditions Report is sponsored by Jacobson Heating & Cooling and Schuss Mountain at Shanty Creek Resort.

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