Snow Conditions Report: Feb. 14, 2020

Snow Conditions

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

It’s Presidents Day weekend, and that means many of us will enjoy a three-day weekend. That means it will be busy at the ski resorts and on the snowmobile trails. Despite a warmer-than-average January and start to February (+4.2 degrees Grand Rapids), we have a fair amount of snow to take advantage of. And it’s not just the Great Lakes; much of the country east of the Rockies has been warmer than average.

The previous weekend deposited some decent snow but most of Lower Michigan is still running a snowfall deficit. Going into this weekend, that deficit is in excess of 13 inches in Grand Rapids and a whopping 27 inches in Muskegon, which is reflective of how little lake-effect we’ve had this season.

Considering the two previous graphics, it might be a surprise that all of Michigan is enjoying a blanket of snow.

This is the most snow that I’ve seen across Lower Michigan this season:

Still looking good across the Northern Michigan:

The Lower Michigan snow depth, in inches, as of Feb. 14, 2020 is below.

  • Kalamazoo: 5
  • Lansing: 5
  • Grand Rapids: 3
  • Muskegon: 5
  • Big Rapids: 4
  • Detroit: 2
  • Saginaw: 5
  • Cadillac: 13
  • Traverse City: 10
  • Houghton Lake: 12
  • Kalkaska: 12
  • Lake City: 8
  • East Jordan: 16
  • Vanderbuilt: 18
  • Charlevoix: 13
  • Gaylord: 18
  • Waters: 18
  • Cheboygan: 8
  • Petoskey: 9
  • Alpena: 10
  • Atlanta: 6

Upper Michigan:

  • St. Ignace: 9
  • Soo: 17
  • Newberry: 30
  • Grand Marais: 41
  • Paradise: 25
  • Munising: 29
  • Marquette: 37
  • Big Bay: 30
  • Manistique: 18
  • Houghton: 27
  • Calumet: 38
  • Iron Mtn:. 22
  • Escanaba: 11
  • Painsedale: 49
  • Ironwood: 22
  • Ishpeming: 21

A weak wave will slide through the Great Lakes on Saturday, freshening up the snowpack to the tune of 1 to 2 inches in most locations, with a few spots adjacent to Lake Michigan possibly getting 3 inches.

The European model forecast:

The GFS snow forecast is slightly more robust:

If you have plans to have fun in the snow, temperatures will be relatively uniform across the state on Saturday.

Although actual temperatures will moderate on Saturday, the wind will certainly make it feel quite cold. Some wind gusts will be near 35 mph.

Of course, this will produce cold wind chills through the day. If you hit the slopes early Saturday morning, you will have to endure wind chills hovering around zero.

Wind chills will improve into the afternoon but will still remain rather cold.

Sunday’s temperature will be significantly colder to the north.

Once Arctic air gets displaced this weekend, it is not expected to return next week.

Outside of the quick shot of below-average temperatures on Wednesday and Thursday, it appears the mild weather pattern will continue for the tale end of February.

The 8- to 14-day precipitation outlook indicates the most active storm track shifting south during this period.

As indicated above, the pattern appears near to slightly drier than average for the next two weeks. Not a lot of snow is in the forecast across the state. Here’s the latest 10-day snow forecast from the European model:

The GFS model hints at possibly colder air and more lake-effect on this side of the lake, across the snow belts to the north.

SNOWMOBILERS:

Lower Michigan: Overall, this appears to be the best weekend for snowmobiling across Lower Michigan. I think even trail 19 through Muskegon, Oceana and Newaygo counties will be usable by Sunday morning. Further north, the Baldwin, Benzonia and Cadillac area are all reporting good trail conditions. Also, the groomers, knowing that there will be heavier traffic this President’s day weekend, will be out in full force. Traverse City trails are reporting the best conditions of the season. Houghton Lake has an average 4-inch base over ice. Be careful if you are planning on traversing the ice on Houghton Lake as there are pressure cracks that have formed towards North Bay. Grayling is reporting fair to good trails. Trail 7 is a little “snirty” between Grayling and Frederic. The groomers in Gaylord are reporting smooth and fast trail conditions. Indian River is reporting good to excellent trail conditions.

(Side note: If you plan to trailer Saturday, be aware there will be a strong wind from the west-southwest. If you are traveling up any north-south-oriented roads such as, US-31, US-131, US-127 and I-75, it will try to push you at times.

Upper Peninsula: All trail reports across the U.P. are reporting good to mostly great conditions. What has helped a lot is that there’s been some fresh snow up there, so last weekend’s sugary snow has been replaced with more favorable and groomable snow this weekend, allowing the trails to hold up longer.

SKIERS:

Looks good across the state with Mother Nature adding a little fresh snow Saturday. If you are heading north, check out Schuss Mountain and Shanty Creek with all 43 of their trails open. Even if you are not a skier, you can take advantage of their fun tubing runs at Shanty Creek which overlook Lake Bellaire. And if you want to learn to ski, they offer a great program called “Super Sundays.” From 12 p.m. to close Sunday, you can purchase a lift ticket for $33 and get rental equipment and a lesson. This is a great way to learn to ski! This program will run through March 15.

All 58 trails are open at Crystal Mountain with 48- to 56-inch base. Boyne Mountain has 49 of 60 groomed trails open. This weekend you can also view a fireworks show at night. At Boyne Highlands, there are 53/55 trails open with an average base close to 50 inches. They will offer face painting for kids this weekend, Valentine’s crafts and a Presidents’ costume contest. Nubs Nob across the way has all 53 of its runs open. If you are looking to upgrade your old skis, they are offering a demo ski sale. Caberfae is reporting up to a 58-inch base with 34 slopes open. Cannosburg has 9/22 trails open with up to a 36-inch base. Bittersweet has 20 open runs with a 2-foot base.

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.

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

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