It’s been a cold week with system snow followed by light to moderate lake-effect across the north country. This has lead to the best overall conditions this winter. You need to take advantage of them ASAP, especially if you are snowmobiler, as a strong snow melting and warm-up will arrive this weekend.
Here’s a satellite view of the Great Lakes showing all the beautiful snow on the ground. This view will change a lot by the end of the weekend as a lot of snow will melt. By the end of the weekend, all of Central and Southern Lower Michigan will be snow-free.
Snow has been somewhat of a rare commodity in Southwest Lower Michigan this winter. All locations are still reporting significant deficits.
The main reason has been a consistent feed of Pacific air masses that have translated to above-average temperatures across the United States.
Considering the picture above, it’s refreshing to see greater than 90% of the state covered with snow.
The snow on the map below will be gone by the end of the weekend:
Northern Michigan will certainly melt some, but will not lose all it’s snow:
The Lower Michigan snow depth, in inches, as of Feb. 21, 2020, is below.
- Kalamazoo: 3
- Lansing: 3
- Grand Rapids: 2
- Muskegon: 5
- Big Rapids: 5
- Fremont: 6
- Ludington: 7
- Detroit: 0
- Saginaw: 2
- Cadillac: 14
- Traverse City: 13
- Houghton Lake: 14
- Kalkaska: 14
- Lake City: 14
- East Jordan: 20
- Vanderbuilt: 19
- Charlevoix: 18
- Gaylord: 18
- Waters: 21
- Cheboygan: 11
- Petoskey: 12
- Alpena: 12
- Atlanta: 10
- St. Ignace: 13
- Soo: 22
- Newberry: 34
- Grand Marais: 44
- Paradise: 31
- Munising: 37
- Marquette: 36
- Big Bay: 25
- Manistique: 22
- Houghton: 24
- Calumet: 39
- Iron Mtn:. 23
- Escanaba: 14
- Painsedale: 51
- Ironwood: 25
- Ishpeming: 22
On Saturday, temperatures will be above freezing statewide. They will be coolest downwind from Lake Michigan.
Just like Friday, there will be a breezy wind from the southwest for Saturday around 15-20 mph. It will relax a bit on Sunday.
The warmest temperatures in the next week will occur on Sunday with 40s expected statewide and even a few 50s possible southeast of Grand Rapids.
Once again, a Pacific air mass will arrive this weekend and will likely remain until the end of next week.
Temperatures will be warmest this weekend through Monday before the next storm system arrives. Eventually behind it, there will be colder temperatures arriving.
Once those colder temperatures arrive, they have the potential of sticking around awhile. The latest 8- to 14-day temperature outlook has much of the eastern U.S. with below-average temperatures. This is a significant change compared to much of the winter.
There will not be a single snowflake across Michigan this entire weekend. We have a shot at some accumulating snow next week but the overall pattern appears mostly dry in the 8- to 14-day precipitation outlook.
Even with the hint of a dry pattern, the forecast models are latching onto the potential of a snow event to varying degrees. Here’s the 10-day snow forecast from the European model:
The GFS model is much more robust but that’s its tendency lately.
More often than not, March in Michigan is just an extension of winter, more or less. The European model hints at that potential into mid-March.
The longer range projection from the climate prediction center has that possibility as well especially in the southeast parts of the U.S. This would nearly flip the pattern that was established earlier in the winter.
This will be simple. Checking out the latest trail reports, they are generally excellent going into this weekend. With a system snow earlier in the week followed by light to moderate lake-effect across the north, groomers have the snow they need to work their trail magic. With that being said, I recommend that you hit those trails ASAP as an all-encompassing statewide warmup will arrive through the weekend. Nearly full sunshine, forecasted warmth and high weekend traffic volume will all add up to quickly break down the trails.
The aforementioned snow has primed Michigan’s ski slopes as well. Will full sunshine and above-freezing temperatures this weekend, expect the snow to turn to mashed potatoes, especially Sunday. If you are heading north, check out Schuss Mountain and Shanty Creek with all 43 of their trails open, three trail parks and one of the best tubing runs my family has ever experienced. They are ready for you! 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 resorts are up and running at full tilt. Boyne Highlands is offering a chance to take a sleigh ride up the North Peak Saturday for dinner and music. They call it Aonach Mor Moonlight Dinner. Also, season pass holders can take advantage of three free lessons Sunday to sharpen those slope skills.