Petoskey has already eclipsed its average total seasonal snowfall
PETOSKEY – While there are still easily two months left in the typical northern Michigan snowfall season, the Petoskey area has already eclipsed its average total snowfall for the entire season.
On Monday, the National Weather Service office in Gaylord reported that Petoskey had received 123.7 inches of snow so far this season and that the average seasonal total for the area is 122.8 inches.
Of course, that also means the region is also well ahead of its average snow totals to date.
According to the weather service, on average at this time of the season, Petoskey receives 76.1 inches of snow.
Traverse City also exceeded its seasonal average of 93.3 inches, registering 99.5 inches on Monday.
Justin Arnott, a forecaster at the National Weather Service office in Gaylord, said much of the snow and freezing cold that hit northern Michigan and much of the Midwest this season was the result of a system of stubborn low pressure.
“We have had a low anchored low over North America for the past two months which has caused a lot of this weather,” he said.
Although the cold spells lasted longer than they usually do, Arnott said the region is unlikely to break records for the coldest winter on record.
“People notice (the cold and the snow) a lot more this year because we’ve been spoiled for the last few years,” he said. “It’s also the persistence of the pattern – the cold lasts so long.”
And don’t expect the very cold temperature trend to change anytime soon.
Arnott said the long-term forecast calls for below normal temperatures to persist at least through the first half of February.
Speaking of records, given the forecast of continued cold weather and the amount of snow the region has already seen, this might suggest that the region may be attempting to break the season’s total snowfall record of 184 inches. established during the winter of 1970-71.
However, Arnott said that while it’s only 60 inches taller, it might be difficult for that to happen at this point.
One factor he pointed out was that the persistent pattern that took hold pushed many of the major storm tracks well south of that area. Additionally, he noted that due to persistent colder-than-normal temperatures, more and more ice is forming over Lake Michigan. As this happens, the lake effect snow will be reduced or eliminated. Arnott noted that the lakes would have even more ice than they already have if it weren’t for the very windy conditions that kept the lake surface choppy.
“If we’re going to do a race at (the snowfall record), it’ll have to come from storms – basic system snow, some mower systems, 2 or 3 inches at a time, no big feet of snow.” . This can be a challenge if the current pattern persists. “
Despite the long-term forecast, Arnott said that once the region emerges from the most recent deep frost today, Tuesday we will see some warming with high temperatures expected in the low to the mid-1920s over late this week.
Follow @Steve_Zucker on Twitter.