Midwest Daily Snow

Heads up, there may be fresher snow! Read the latest Midwest Daily Snow

By Croix Christenson, Meteorologist Posted 2 months ago December 6, 2023

Mild Wednesday to Friday

Summary

A very mild air mass will visit the Midwest Wednesday to Friday, with 40s and 50s likely! All eyes then turn to the potential for a significant system to visit portions of the Midwest and along with it, rain and snow.

Short Term Forecast

Wednesday, Dec. 6 to Sunday, Dec. 11:

North Shore Lake Superior

After decent snowmaking conditions on Tuesday night, things will trend warmer for Thursday and Friday as a very warm airmass is headed our way. Some light precipitation will be possible, especially along the international border Friday into Saturday. However, it looks like the best chance of a few inches of snow would be north of Thunder Bay, while other areas could see some rain. 

Looking further ahead, most models still have the larger system missing this region, but at least it will bring colder air to the area allowing for much better snowmaking conditions for a handful of days! 

Forecast snowmaking conditions at Spirit Mountain:

South Shore Lake Superior

After some light lake effect snow Tuesday night, things will turn milder by Thursday and Friday before we turn our attention to the system this weekend. The key timeframe looks to be Saturday into Sunday when a well-organized system impacts the Midwest. 

At this time, the best odds of seeing rain and/or snow will be for the eastern half of the south shore, from roughly Marquette Mtn east to Searchmont. Another thing we'll have to monitor is if we see a prolonged period of northeast winds off of Lake Superior which can mean enhanced snow for the Marquette, MI area. If the winds are more northerly or northwest then places like Ripley, Powderhorn, Snowriver, etc would be favored for lake effect snow showers. 

As this system exits, we will see cold air (not necessarily arctic air) settle into the region allowing for some lake effect snow and favorable snowmaking conditions. 

Stay tuned, as there are plenty of details to iron out in the coming days. 

Twin Cities Region

It may hit the 50s on Thursday! As of now most (~80%) of models have the larger system for Saturday into Sunday missing this region, with some models showing it clipping southern MN and western WI. At least we will see some good news on the snowmaking front, as the larger system will tap into some colder air allowing resorts to fire up the snow guns day and night. 

Forecast snowmaking conditions at Trollhaugen:

Central and Southern Wisconsin

After a brief visit from spring Thursday and Friday, our attention turns to Saturday and Sunday with the potential of widespread rain and snow for the region. It is far too early to talk amounts, but for now, most models bring rain and snow for this area, with the rain/snow line ending up somewhere in Wisconsin. Stay tuned as more details become clear and I'll help you pick where and when to ski this weekend to avoid the rain and enjoy the snow. 

After the pending rain/snow exits, cooler temperatures should return, allowing for a decent snowmaking push to resume late this weekend and into early next week. 

Northern Lower Michigan

Other than some light lake effect snow lingering Wednesday morning and again possible Wednesday night, we will see a warming trend through Friday.

Rain and snow appear likely to return for the weekend and into early next week. The mild temperatures and possible rain will have a signficant impact on the natural snowpack, likely melting much of it.

Here is a loop of modeled snow depth from the ECMWF from Wednesday AM to Saturday AM:

As of now, this region along with Wisconsin is likely to experience a mixed bag of precipitation if the models hold. For some, it likely will start as rain and end as snow, while mainly being a rain event for others. 

However, this is still 4ish days away and a lot of details are yet to be determined. At a minimum, as this system exits the Midwest, we should see the return of favorable snowmaking conditions. As a result, resorts will either be able to regroup if it rains this weekend or expand terrain if they see snow. 

Southern Lower Michigan

The main story for the rest of this week is a very mild Thursday and Friday and the threat of rain and possibly snow/lake effect snow. As it stands now, many models bring rain to this area, which would impact operations on Saturday and/or Sunday. 

However, this system is just hitting the west coast of the US so it will take a few more days before I feel confident on rain vs snow and where. 

Extended Forecast

December 11 to 17:

  • There is a moderate signal of drier-than-normal conditions 
  • Temperatures will be near to below normal to start the week
    • This should allow for a decent snowmaking push and an expansion of terrain open
  • Near to above normal temperatures to end the week, possibly

The next forecast will be posted on Thursday - thanks for reading! 

Announcements

Latest Opening Dates by Region!

North Shore Lake Superior
Open: Giants Ridge, Lutsen, Mount Baldy, Spirit Mountain, Mont du Lac

Opening Dates: Loch Lomond - Dec 8

Closed: Chester Bowl, Bearskin

South Shore Lake Superior
Open: Marquette Mtn, Ski Brule, Searchmont, Snowriver

Closed: ABR, Whitecap, Ripley, Birkie, Powderhorn, Porkies, Bohemia, Pine Mtn

Twin Cities Region
Open: Afton Alps, Hyland Hills, Buck Hill, Andes Tower Hills, Wild Mtn, Trollhaugen, Powder Ridge, Welch Village (pass holders only Dec 2-3)

Opening Dates: Christie Dec. 8

Closed: Coffee Mill, Mount Kato

Central and Southern Wisconsin
Open: Alpine Valley (WI), Sundown (Iowa), Little Switz, Cascade, Granite Peak, Devil's Head, Wilmot Mtn, Sunburst, Nordic Mtn, Chestnut (Illinois), Tyrol

Closed: Paul Bunyan, Mt La Crosse, Mountain Top

Northern Lower Michigan
Open: Crystal Mtn, Nub's Nob, Boyne Highlands, Boyne Mtn, Caberfae, Treetops

Closed: Otsego, Shanty Crk

Southern Lower Michigan
Open: Mt Holly, Pine Knob, Bittersweet, Alpine Valley (MI), Mt Brighton

Closed: Cannonsburg, Timber Ridge, Swiss Valley

Road Conditions:

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About Our Forecaster

Croix Christenson

Meteorologist

Croix grew up in Saint Paul, Minnesota where he developed his passion for the outdoors and snow. He attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison and received his BS and MS in Atmospheric Science. When not working, you will find Croix exploring his Duluth, Minnesota backyard by skiing, mountain biking, fishing, surfing, hiking with his dog Doppler, or just about any activity that gets him outside.

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