Monday, February 9, 2009

Weather Big Picture for February 9-15

We'll be getting some rain this week in addition to a 36-48 hour period of melting snow. The high temperatures in the 30s on Friday and Sunday did not do much damage to the ski trails because the clear skies, low humidity, and brief period of warmth kept prevented much melting. This time, however, the persistent, cloudy, drizzly/rainy weather we are about to experience will definitely diminish the snow pack. I'm not sure how the groomers deal with this type of situation, but my best estimate is the temperature will climb above freezing Monday morning and hover in the 34-38 degree range until Tuesday night when it drops back to around freezing, but it could be as long as Wednesday evening before the temperature drops enough to refreeze things. Total rainfall will probably be about 0.5" in Grand Rapids. My guess is the snow depth in the woods will diminish from about 15-18" now to about 9-14" by Tuesday night. I'm not great at predicting snow melt, but I think there may some opportunity to groom the trails after this system if one gets out shortly after freezup and before the slush gets too hard. (FYI, I skied Suomi this weekend, and Boomer and company did a fantastic job there on Friday).

Thereafter, the rest of the week should be dry. Temperatures will fall to slightly below average by this weekend with highs in the teens and lows near zero. Looking farther ahead, the large scale pattern looks unfavorable for new snow.

Do be careful driving over the next couple days. Even if the air temperature is warm, the roads are still cold after a lot of subzero weather this winter, so driving may be quite icy-- especially on side roads.

For more information on Cross Country ski conditions, check out the KAXE Ski Talk blog!

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