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Blizzard Summary 1/12-14/24

We announced late last year that we would no longer measure snowfall. Well, at least not regularly 😉

Since we still have a snow board in our observation area — and we had cleared it before it started snowing Friday — we thought we’d stick a ruler down this morning after all was said and done.

Turns out 12.0″ fell in the past 48 hours ending 10 AM Sunday morning. That corresponds to 0.85″ of melted snow (liquid equivalent) that we caught in our precipitation gauge over that period.

Now, take it with a grain of salt because it’s in a somewhat sheltered area that is prone to drifting. However, this spot is lower than some and higher than others. Seems pretty average.

The National Weather Service office in Negaunee Township, just 8 miles up the road on US-41, measured just over 2 feet in that same time period. That is likely due to their higher elevation. Other reports closer to the lakeshore support lower totals such as ours.

In the future, we may provide a storm total measurement after significant events. That’s assuming that nearby drifts don’t expand to include our snow board. That can result from plowed snow mountains up wind growing over the course of the winter.

As far as wind speeds, our max recorded gust was 35 mph out of the north yesterday morning in the 7 o’clock hour. We have good “fetch” from that direction with no obstacles within 100 feet. The U.S. Coast Guard, located near McCarty’s Cove on the lakeshore, caught a 58 mph gust in the 10 AM hour but mostly clocked upper 30s / low 40s gusts throughout Saturday morning.

Expanded Hourly Forecast Now Available

The graphical hourly forecast on the CITY page now looks ahead 48 hours (previously only 24 hours). This should be particularly helpful during long-lasting storm events.

Accuracy beyond 72 hours is lacking in hourly forecasts. 48 hours seems to be the sweet spot now in terms of accuracy and usability. Beyond that, one is forced to scroll through endless tiles looking at information that is going to change significantly in the next 12-24 hours.

The hourly (yellow) & daily (light blue) forecasts are scrollable on mobile devices, trackpads, and mice. On touchscreens, just swiping left will allow you to scroll into the future. On Mac trackpads — same thing — use 2 fingers and swipe left over forecast icons. On PCs and desktop Macs, you need to position the cursor over the forecast tiles and then hit shift and use the mousewheel (scroll up to go forward in time and down to go backward). You can also navigate using a keyboard by pressing tab, then return/enter (to skip the navigation and go straight to the content area), and then press tab repeatedly until it highlights the hourly forecast area. Then you can use the directional arrows.

The End of Snowfall Measurements

When things get bad (2019)

Sadly, we won’t be providing snowfall measurements any longer. It has proven too difficult on our urban property to keep the plowed & drifted snowfall separate from the measurement area. We tried our best to overcome siting issues with multiple boards and locations. Too often, however, particularly during wind-driven storm events, the measurements turn into guesses. We need more open space.

Consider also the practical challenges that twice-daily measurements present in the winter. The observer (me) better not be sick or traveling.

Ultimately, the cost was too great while the benefit — long-term data on snowfall in the city — could not be realized.

I figured it’s best to pull the plug on it at the end of the calendar year.

We started measuring snowfall in the fall of 2017 and have 6 complete years (2018-2023) of weather history data. Detailed snow measurement reports for Fall 2019 – early Winter 2023 can be found in our Snow Measurement Archives.

I will still be providing daily liquid precipitation measurements year round for our weather history records. In the winter this involves melting snow to its liquid equivalent amount.

Alternatively, you can always view official snow observations for the city by visiting NOAA NOWData and selecting “Marquette, MI” as the “Location”, “Daily data for a month” as the “Product”, selecting the current month under “Options” and pressing “Go”.

 

New Station All-Time High

On Labor Day (9/4/23) our station recorded a maximum temperature of 95.7° which eclipsed our previous all-time high of 95.2° on June 6, 2021. We have been (unofficially) recording weather at this location since July 2015.

Our maximum heat index on Monday 9/4 was 102°. The dewpoint topped out at 72°. It was a very muggy day by Upper Michigan standards (dewpoints typically in the 40s/50s in early September).

Got a Little Rain Last Night…

Last night around 9 PM EDT, we experienced a deluge of rain during a severe thunderstorm. Our automatic tipping spoon recorded the second highest rain rate in the 8 years we’ve been online (10.7″/hr). Overall, we picked up just over 1.5″ of rain in half an hour with about 1″ falling in the first 15 minutes of the storm.

We clocked a 37 mph wind gust during the storm. However, each wind measurement must last up to 2.5 seconds to be recorded by our system. It’s quite possible higher, shorter-lived winds were present during that storm as radar had indicated up to 60 mph gusts according to the severe thunderstorm alert issued by the National Weather Service.

There was lightning aplenty but no hail. We got quite the hail storm on Saturday July 22nd. The entire property was coated with pea size pellets.

Marquette is running WELL above normal for July rainfall. So far 4.89″ has been recorded by our automatic gauge (which is checked against a manual gauge daily). Marquette’s 30-year normal rainfall for July is 2.77″.

Incidentally, the third highest rain rate in our history (9.75″/hr) was recorded less than two weeks ago on July 15th when we picked up 0.64″ for the day.

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