If you recall last week, I mentioned you can have a warm pattern during winter and still get a winter storm that puts down a decent amount of snow. That scenario will play out this weekend. depending where you are located.
First, let’s begin where the snow is currently. As of Jan. 9, nearly all of the snow is across the north. That snow WILL spread south this weekend.
The Northern Lower and the Upper Peninsula snow depth as of the morning of January: We will only add to this by Sunday.
The Lower Michigan snow depth, in inches, as of Jan. 9: Many locations across Northern Michigan have increased their snow depth from the previous weekend.
- Cadillac: 2
- Traverse City: 3
- Houghton Lake: 6
- Kalkaska: 5
- Lake City: 4
- East Jordan: 10
- Lewiston: 9
- Charlevoix: 9
- Gaylord: 11
- Waters: 10
- Cheboygan: 4
- Petoskey: 5
- Alpena: 1
- St. Ignace: 4
- Soo: 15
- Newberry: 27
- Paradise: 25
- Munising: 25
- Marquette: 25
- Big Bay: 17
- Manistique: 10
- Houghton: 18
- Calumet: 31
- Iron Mtn:. 15
- Escanaba: 11
- Painsedale: 39
- Ironwood: 28
A winter storm will move across Lower Michigan this weekend with varying types of heavy precipitation ranging from rain, freezing rain, sleet and snow. Areas from M-20 or Big Rapids north will likely receive mostly snow from this storm. Wintry precipitation will start to develop early Saturday morning.
As colder air advects in from the north, the wintry precipitation expand.
As the storm system passes over Lower Michigan the air will be cold enough to change all the precipitation over to snow Saturday night.
The question is, who gets how much snow? At this point, I’m only confident that areas north of Grand Rapids have the most likely bet to receive decent amounts of heavy, wet snow.
The further south, the more sleet and freezing rain will mix in, keeping amounts down. The European model below has more snow but positioned further north:
The GFS, or American model, has the significant snow line just slightly further south.
If you do plan to play in the snow, here are the high temperatures expected for Saturday. A couple of things to note is how sharp of a gradient there is between the heavy snow and the lesser amounts. This may shift a bit before the storm arrives, so stay tuned. But it also appears that Northern Lower Michigan will receive a solid, heavy wet snow that should help open up a lot of snowmobile trails .
It will be colder Sunday.
There will be strong east to northeast wind Saturday through Sunday morning. This will keep wind chills in the single digits across much of Northern Michigan.
Temperatures next week after the storm do not look particularly cold, so some snow will melt.
The pattern does remain active. Notice how Michigan is sandwiched between the below and above temperatures. That places Michigan in the airmass “clash zone.” The question is. how much of that will fall as snow?
The 8- to 14-day precipitation outlook does reflect this active pattern with above-average precipitation across much of the U.S., including the Great Lakes.
Going beyond the 8- to 14-day day outlook of Jan. 16 to 22, models are hinting as colder temperatures to finish out the month of January.
SNOWMOBILERS: Great news, especially if you can hit the trails Sunday, as many more will likely be rideable across Northern Lower. Bear in mind, if you are pulling a snowmobile trailer up US-131 or I-75, be careful especially in the open areas, such as the potato fields between Mancelona and Boyne City, along with the higher elevations from Gaylord north.
If you plan to snowmobile across the U.P., conditions will be excellent. Keep in mind, though, there are still low and fallen branches that could be impeding the trail.
SKIERS: If you want to ski on Saturday, you’ll want to head north as there will be sleet and freezing rain mixed in anywhere south of Caberfae and Crystal Mountain. If you stay up there on Sunday, you may get lucky with fresh powder to ski in.
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.