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 8, 2023

Rain, some snow

Summary

Rain and some snow are expected Friday night into Sunday before we see a window open for better snowmaking conditions this weekend into early next week. The long-term forecast remains unfavorable for any major snow storms or prolonged periods of lake effect snow.

Short Term Forecast

Friday, Dec. 8 to Sunday, Dec. 11:

North Shore Lake Superior

Sometimes these larger, more complex systems throw us a few surprises and one thing to keep an eye on is an area of snow that will be northwest of this region on Saturday AM. At this time models have it pivot through this area, but if it moves slower or is better organized, we could squeeze out a few inches of snow. Otherwise, we'll just see some light snow accumulations (dusting to ~1").  

Here are the forecast precipitation types from the ECMWF showing the rain in southern WI and snow in northwest Minnesota Saturday AM. Notice also how there is a wide gap in the precip between the rain and snow, illustrating this complex system. 

Looking beyond Saturday, things look less optimistic and we return to a drier pattern overall, but with better snowmaking conditions to start next week before warmer air returns later in the week. 

South Shore Lake Superior

Fright night into Saturday an area of rain will move north, bringing rain mainly to the eastern portion of the south shore before colder air and an area of snow moves through from the west. At this time, the best chance of seeing 2-5" is Saturday night into Sunday as colder air allows for lake effect snow to begin.

The winds will mainly be northwest which favors the Ironwood resorts and up the Keweenaw. For the eastern portion of the south shore, the lake effect snow will produce snow showers at times, with accumulations generally in the 1-4" range with some pockets seeing more. 

As we look ahead to next week, there is another system around the middle of the week but that favors locations like Searchmont at this time. 

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 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

I wish there was better news, but still no significant snow on the horizon. At least better snowmaking conditions return this weekend and into next week! We'll see some light snow on Saturday, with a few areas squeezing out an inch or two. Looking beyond the early portion of next week, we will see a warming trend with 40s possible around next Thursday or Friday. 

Of the 50 members of the ECMWF ensemble, only 7 (or ~14%) produce a 24-hour snowfall of greater than 2" between now and the 22nd, which is not favorable. 

Central and Southern Wisconsin

Rain will arrive Friday night and mostly be out of southern Wisconsin by late morning with lingering showers possible. Central/northern Wisconsin, particularly Granite Peak, will be on the edge of the precip, with some rain and even some light snow mixing it. Even for those who will see rain, most of the rain will be north and east by midday, so maybe a raincoat in the AM and back to a winter jacket in the PM.

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

The ECMWF and HRRR, two of the models I trust the most, are in fairly good agreement. Here is the ECMWF forecast precip Friday night into Saturday evening:

Sunday will feature some colder air and light snow/snow showers at times, but no significant accumulation is expected. The good news is the colder air will allow resorts to make a snowmaking push into early next week before warmer temps arrive once again late in the week.  

Northern Lower Michigan

Saturday will feature some rain, heaviest in the morning before drier air works its way east and we see a period of light rain/snow changing to lake effect snow late Saturday night and Sunday. Accumulations at this time are not expected to be significant but a little refresh on the slopes will be possible. 

The best odds of the slopes seeing a refresh will be from snowmaking resuming late this weekend and into next week. Looking beyond, the long-range remains less than ideal with no major lake effect periods or snow storms. 

The HRRR forecast precipitation types from Saturday AM to early evening: 

Southern Lower Michigan

Spring or fall, however you want to look at it, sticks around through Saturday with mild temps and rain as the main story. Most of the rain will be north and east of the western resorts by morning while we could see some lingering showers or drizzle for the eastern resorts in this region on Saturday. 

The HRRR forecast precipitation types from Saturday AM to early evening: 

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

December 18 to 24:

  • Overall mild pattern continues
  • Precip signal:
    • Drier than normal in lake effect snow belts due to warmer than normal temps
    • TBD for the rest of the Midwest

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

Announcements

Latest Opening Dates by Region!

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

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, Christie

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

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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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