Read ’em and Weep: Update 2/12/18

Damage Assessment

Afternoon temperatures were in the 30s over the weekend, but temperatures did spike to 40*F Sunday Night before falling below freezing.

As annoying as the rain and freezing drizzle was to ride in, it didn’t cause much more damage than heavy weekend traffic and mild temperatures did by themselves.

As you can see, we still have significant snow pack in ilsnow land with the green-shaded areas holding over 2 feet of snow:

I walked some of the snowmobile trails on Monday. They were hard-pack with stretches of loose frozen granular snow and I did see some snowmobiles out Monday afternoon.

For now, the lakes still hold a good snow pack.

Weather Outlook

First, I’m going to throw this out there: The notion of near-bottomless cold for the second half of February that I had laid out in my 1/21/18 report¬†is pure rubbish.

I probably could have said this over a week ago. But I was tracking snowstorms and snowmobile riding when we got the snow, thus didn’t get around to doing the write-up.

So, I’m not running away and hiding from what I said. In fact, I’m waving my dirty laundry in your face. But I gotta say that I was right about the possibility for significant snows in early February. ūüėČ

What went wrong?

Instead of the anticipated PNA+/EPO- ridging over western North America, the mean ridge axis will be located through the Gulf of Alaska this week. This configuration does not allow the arctic cold to drop-and-drive into the eastern United States. The resulting zonal flow under the Polar Vortex causes alternating warm ups and freezes, although not quite as dramatic with the temperature swings that we had for mid and late January.

But wait, it gets WORSE!

I’ll be very blunt here: An outright AWFUL pattern will set up for Presidents’ Week Vacation as a PNA- troughing sets up over the western United States:

Temperatures will run well above normal with any significant storms tracking to our west, making rain the most likely form of precipitation.

Bottom line

Sooner you can get up here, the better. If we get blessed with some snow Friday, you better ride it like you robbed it. You should be able to ride this weekend. After that? You’re rolling the dice with up-and-down temperatures at best, or full meltdown mode at worst…

Any hope for the Back 9 of Winter?


Toward the tail end of February into early March, lots of upper atmospheric warming near Greenland may set up a strong NAO- blocking regime:

This would alter the jet-stream trajectory so storms could tunnel under the block with opportunities for meaningful snow once again. But much of our present snow pack could be melted down into remnant hard, ice-pack by then.

Of course, a number of people are done snowmobiling after Presidents’ Week Vacation. But for those of us that hang on into March, we gotta have something to hope for.

Wish I had a better outlook for you. But I always call it the way I see it.

For the ilsnow nation.


This report is brought to you by Progressive Motorsports, celebrating their 25th year. They live, eat and breathe snowmobiling. Stop in today and see for yourself! Be sure to tell Karen that Darrin @ sent ya.

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