Midwest Daily Snow

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By Croix Christenson, Meteorologist Posted 2 months ago December 7, 2023

Mild Then Some Rain and Snow

Summary

Spring-like conditions will continue on Thursday and Friday before rain and some snow return for Friday night into Saturday. Colder air will eventually return, allowing for snow showers and some lake effect snow this weekend into next week.

Short Term Forecast

Thursday, Dec. 7 to Sunday, Dec. 11:

North Shore Lake Superior

It's the same story we have seen the past few weeks: periods of light rain or snow are possible but no significant accumulations are expected through the 17th or so. The good news is we will see a strong snowmaking push start this weekend and last into next week before we likely see milder air return late next week. 

Here is a look at forecast snow from all members of the ECMWF for Spirit Mountain (lots of white with very little blue, pink, or purple is not what we are looking for!): 

Until we see a pattern change we will be at the mercy of snowmaking to hit the slopes or slide around on nordic skis. 

South Shore Lake Superior

The forecast for the south shore is probably the trickiest of all of the regions as subtle differences in wind direction and track of the system will dictate the winners. For now, it looks like the north and northwest wind belts will see the most snow, particularly the resorts near Ironwood, MI Saturday PM into Sunday AM. To the east, it will mainly be rain it looks like for Searchmont through Saturday PM before we could see some lake effect snow return late in the weekend and early next week. 

During the day on Sunday, as colder air is pulled south we will see lake effect snow return to much of the south shore. How much snow falls is still up in the air, but we could see lake effect snow linger into next week. 

The other slice of good news is colder air will allow for much better snowmaking conditions late this weekend and into next week before warmer air arrives late next week once again.

Sadly, if we do not get a major snowstorm or a prolonged period of lake effect snow soon I am officially worried about when locations like the Porkies and Bohemia, which rely on natural snow, will open. As of now, Christmas time is in jeopardy, and possibly even New Year's if things don't turn around soon! 

Twin Cities Region

We should see some snow showers/light snow this weekend but I'm not expecting more than a dusting to an inch or so for most locations. The good news is that better snowmaking conditions return this weekend and into early next week before another warming trend is possible late next week. 

Forecast snowmaking conditions at Buck Hill:

Central and Southern Wisconsin

We are still on track for a visit from spring on Thursday and Friday before rain and some snow arrive for the weekend. As of now, most of the precip that falls through Saturday evening will mainly be rain with some wet snow as temps will be too warm to support widespread snow. With widespread rain, we could see some impacts on operations so be sure to check ahead. 

Here is a look at a comparison of the ECMWF and the GFS, illustrating that most of the precip falls as rain with a little bit of snow through Saturday evening:

As some colder air works its way south some light snow is possible for much of Wisconsin Saturday night into Sunday, but I'm not expecting significant accumulations at this time. The good news is colder air will allow for much better snowmaking conditions so resorts will be able to regroup late this weekend and into next week. 

Northern Lower Michigan

Rain and snow still appear likely to return for the weekend and into early next week. The initial wave of precip will mainly be rain through Saturday PM before colder air arrives allowing for a change over to snow showers and lake effect snow. If planning to hit the slopes Saturday there could be some impacts to operations due to the mild conditions and rain or at the very least a raincoat might be a good idea. 

As a result of colder air into early next week, we could see the light lake effect continue off and on for a few days, but some refresh on the slopes is possible. We will also see better snowmaking conditions, which should allow resorts to regroup if not expand the terrain offerings.

The ECMWF ensemble does a nice job showing little snow through Sat PM before snow and lake effect returns Sunday into early next week: 

 

Southern Lower Michigan

It will feel like spring through Saturday with mild temps and rain as the main story. As colder air is pulled south we could see some light snow or lake effect snow, but at this time I have low confidence on when and how much as models are mixed on how cold the air will be that gets pulled south and the general wind direction. 

If planning to hit the slopes this weekend, be sure to check ahead as there could be impacts to operations from rain and warm temps. 

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, likely

The next forecast will be posted on Friday - 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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