It’s the last weekend of meteorological winter and if you get an early start, all should be good. Just like last weekend, we’ll begin with fresh snow (lake-effect) in many areas, especially across the north.
And like the previous weekend, there will be a significant warmup arriving Sunday.
Speaking of warm, the last two months have been 5 degrees above average, with February around a single degree in Grand Rapids.
Like much of the winter, we continue with a snowfall deficit. As of Friday, Grand Rapids is -15.9, Muskegon -31.6 and Kalamazoo -17.9. These deficits will continue to grow during the week ahead.
Considering the two previous graphics, it might be a surprise that much of Michigan is enjoying a decent blanket of snow.
Central and Southern Michigan again lagging behind the north, in terms of snow depth. It’s been another awful season in terms of snowmobile riding in this area.
Northern Lower Michigan took a hit with last weekend’s mild temperatures but the U.P. is still doing great:
The Lower Michigan snow depth, in inches, as of Feb. 28, 2020, is below:
- Kalamazoo: 3
- Lansing: 1
- Grand Rapids: 1
- Muskegon: Trace
- Big Rapids: 2
- Detroit: 2
- Saginaw: Trace
- Cadillac: 8
- Traverse City: 7
- Houghton Lake: 8
- Kalkaska: 13
- Lake City: 5
- East Jordan: 16
- Vanderbuilt: 14
- Charlevoix: 14
- Gaylord: 14
- Waters: 16
- Cheboygan: 6
- Petoskey: 6
- Alpena: 8
- Atlanta: 2
- St. Ignace: 7
- Soo: 18
- Newberry: 39
- Grand Marais: 50
- Paradise: 32
- Munising: 35
- Marquette: 32
- Big Bay: 25
- Manistique: 16
- Houghton: 25
- Calumet: 50
- Iron Mtn:. 23
- Escanaba: 14
- Painsedale: 55
- Ironwood: 24
- Ishpeming: 22
Lake-effect snowbelts will add a few more inches onto what they have already received in the past couple of days. Kalkaska and the Grayling area will be in the sweet spot, with the potential of 3 to 6 more inches. No snow is expected across the state on Sunday.
Winter cold will hold one more day on Saturday, with a slight moderation from Friday.
Sunday’s temperatures will be well above average and able to melt a fair amount of snow, as 40-degree temperatures will blanket much of the region.
A pattern shift will arrive this weekend that will place the Great Lakes in a milder pattern leading into next week. I suggest taking advantage of the snow while you can, especially across Lower Michigan.
Even beyond the next eight days, temperatures appear to remain on the mild side, as suggested by the 8- to 14-day outlook.
The 8- to 14-day precipitation outlook indicates an active pattern that will likely deliver more rain than snow.
The 10-day snow forecast from both the GFS (American model) and European model indicates probably more rain than snow as well.
This a compilation of last weekend’s journey to the Higgins Lake and Grayling area. Trails 6/7 and 47 were mostly great with a few icy corners. There were the typical rough patches in and around the city of Grayling but overall, it was a fun ride. Ice has been reported on Houghton Lake at a solid 15 inches. What made it even more fun was the demo sled from Fox Powersports.
Lower Peninsula: Trails have recovered a bit from last weekend’s sun and warmth with the best trails in and around Cadillac. The Boon, Caberfae and south-of-Mesick trails are for the best. Trail 37 is very poor just north of M55 due to logging. Poor to good conditions are being reported on the Traverse City trails. The trail from Brown Bridge Road to Ranch Rudolph is mostly dirt. Up towards the Indian River, area trails are in fair to sometimes poor condition. It is recommended that you avoid the railroad grade. The groomers have not been out since the previous Saturday, so expect some rough areas. They hope to get out later Friday and Saturday if the 1 to 5 inches of snow come to fruition. Spring-like trail conditions are being reported in and around the Gaylord area with a lot of snirt where there is snow is hard-packed.
Upper Peninsula: All trail reports across the U.P. are reporting good to mostly great conditions. Lake-effect has added nice fresh layer of snow during the past few days. All three groomers are working in the Munising area, with a couple rough patches on Trail 7 south of there being reported. The trails within about 10 miles of Houghton are getting beat down and sugary but once a you peal away from the city, they’re fine. Trails 8, 45, 452/453 have all been recently groomed and are reported in great condition. About two mouths south of Paradise Trail 8, the “swamp” section still in fair to poor condition. Trails 45, 2 and 473 are reported in good condition south of Newberry. All others in and around Newberry are in very good condition.
Ski conditions look quite good Friday into Saturday. If you are heading to Schuss Mountain and Shanty Creek, we may run into you as my family and I plan on taking advantage of many their 43 trails that are 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 on 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. When it’s “chill time” BanDJ will be performing at Ivan’s.
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 a woman’s ski clinic with Lisa Densmore. If you notice a few people skiing faster than usual, you might be witnessing the Highlander Friends and Family Race Saturday. Nubs Nob across the way has all of their runs open. Crystal Mountain is 100% open. They are hosting the NASTAR Midwest Regional Championship this weekend. Although it will be considerably warmer, they are offering 5 for $50 lift tickets Sunday. 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.