News app users: Tap here to view the full report with graphics and maps.
If you want to take advantage of the best snow conditions this weekend, don’t delay and head north.
Snow cover is holding strong across the Northern Michigan, especially at 98 percent. Average depth is 15 inches. This will be going down this weekend across Lower Michigan.
Here’s the latest snow depth in various cities across Southern Lower Michigan as of February 21:
Across Northern Michigan:
Here are some additional reports of snow depth across Lower Michigan:
Fremont: 8 inches
Cadillac: 11 inches
Charlevoix: 35 inches
Cheboygan: 19 inches
East Jordan: 22 inches
Kalkaska: 16 inches
Lake City: 8 inches
Gaylord: 21 inches
Lewiston: 19 inches
Petoskey: 16 inches
St. Ignace: 25 inches
Grand Marais: 46 inches
Paradise: 34 inches
Big Bay: 33 inches
Calumet: 47 inches
Painesdale: 51 inches
A strong storm system will split Michigan and all of the Lower Peninsula will be on the warm side of it. This will put a significant dent in the snow depth, especiallly in Southern Lower Michigan with warm temperatures accompanied with rain that could be heavy Saturday night.
An area of low pressure will move from the Central Plains and deepen as it splits Michigan this weekend.
Rain will develop later Saturday with a slight chance of freezing rain north of M-20 (Big Rapids).
Here are the projected high temperatures Saturday:
Heavier rain is likely across Lower Michigan Saturday night, and could even creep into the Eastern U.P.
As the storm departs into Canada on Sunday, very strong winds will develop and begin to usher in much colder temperatures throughout the day.
Temperatures will peak Sunday morning with snow-melting 40s and even 50s arriving before the cold front plows through.
The winds will be the primary issue Sunday and they will be strong. Wind gusts could exceed 50 mph at times. Of course, with a strong west wind this will be problematic if you are pulling a large snowmobile trailer. That means the majority of the trip will be experienced with a strong cross wind as most will be traveling north and south on I-75, US-131.
I wouldn’t be surprised if travel is limited on the Mackinaw Bridge. If you have plans crossing the Mighty Mac on Sunday, make sure you check with the bridge authority before you cross.
There will be some blowing snow as well, but that will be more of a problem in the Central and especially Western U.P. where most of this storm’s snow will fall.
The snow you see across Lower Michigan will fall Sunday:
Ski resorts once again are good to go with snow, although there will be a substantial melt Saturday night and of course the high winds Sunday. For snowmobilers, you will have to head away from Detroit and Grand Rapids as is often the case and head north.
I ventured north with friends last Sunday for a day trip. We rode mostly trail 3 and 6 through the Manistee National Forecast into Kelava and eventually Thompsonville. It was a beautiful trip, especially along the Manistee River.
Even though we ran across several groomers, it was evident they were trying to catch up from all the heavy traffic from a busy Friday and Saturday.
Trail reports as of Thursday, Feb. 21 range from fair to good in the Baldwin and Benzonia area. Cadillac is reporting good to very good with very firm snow and icy corners that you have to look out for.
The Mio, Houghton Lake and Grayling area is reporting good to excellent conditions. The groomers are going to tackle the trail that goes through the city of Grayling to improve the flow through town.
Trail 47 near Lovells will be closed for military excercises this weekend. Petoskey, Gaylord and to Indian River are all reporting excellent conditions.
Epic amounts of snow can be found across the U.P., so it’s just a matter of whether or not the groomers can keep up with the high traffic. It will be tough to do that in the Seney area, as they are two groomers down. Also, they are hosting the MotorCity Sledhead Poker Run this weekend.
Even though we will melt some snow this weekend, it appears we have plenty more winter to go and it will continue well into March. You can see temperatures stay well below freezing behind this weekend’s storm next week.
The latest 8- to 14-day outlook has a very cold look to it for the first week of March:
Actually, it appears we’ll remain cold even into mid-March:
It appears this cold air will be of Arctic origins, as we’ll likely settle into a drier pattern opposed to late.
The 10-day snowfall forecast from the European model once again deposits most of the snow on the U.P.:
The GFS model is more robust with the snowfall further south into Northern Lower Michigan: