Snowfall deficit will grow with a dry week ahead


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Monday night’s snow hardly put a dent in the snowfall deficit across southwest Michigan and, with a dry week ahead, it will only grow.

Eighty percent of this winter’s accumulating snow events have been 3 inches or less in Grand Rapids and the latest one was no different. Below is a sampling of some of the reported totals. Big Rapids and Shelby came in at 2 inches and Mount Pleasant received 5. Most areas were within 1 to 3 inches.

On the surface (pun intended), there seems to be quite a bit of snow across the state and there is. After the coldest air of the season late last week and Monday night’s system, 99% of Michigan is covered with an average snow depth of 13 inches. Last year at the same date, we had slightly less at 93%.

As is typical, the northern sections of the state are blanketed with the deepest snow, but many are still running a snow deficit. As of this writing, Alpena was at -6.1 inches, Houghton Lake -4.4 inches and Sault Ste. Marie -3.7 inches. Marquette was running a surplus of 8.8 inches.

The deficit across Lower Michigan highlights the fact that we’ve had very little lake-effect snow. For example, Detroit, Saginaw and Flint are all at a surplus while Muskegon’s snow deficit is a whopping 26 inches.

Grand Rapids is 13 inches below average.

Kalamazoo snow is nearly 17 inches below average.

Lake-effect snow is most active during Arctic outbreaks and there have been precious few of those this season. The ones that did arrive were short-lived and not that intense. We’ve only had one day so far with a high in the teens (19 degrees) and three with lows in the single digits. Temperatures the past two months are running over 6 degrees above average in Grand Rapids.

Only one year in the past five has recorded less snowfall by this date.

A scan through the archives shows the winter of 2000 recorded more snow by Dec. 11 then what we’ve had so far this year. That ended up being the snowiest month and December on record.

Even though we only received 30 inches of snow by Feb. 17, 2016, the season still concluded with 61.1 inches. That means more than half of that season’s snowfall occurred after this date.

Although the week ahead will be dry, I still think we are far from done with winter’s snow. The 8- 14-day precipitation outlook has us resuming a wetter-than-normal pattern to close out February and begin March. How much will be snow? Stay tuned.



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