During the 2:00 – 4:30 PM time frame on Tuesday afternoon (12/17/19), Marquette saw two distinct lines of heavy snowfall that spanned approximately 75-100 miles west to east on radar (~ 10 miles north to south). The first hit about 2:15 PM EST. A second line had formed 2 hours later. Both only lasted for about 15-30 minutes. In between were light to moderate lake-enhanced snow showers. During each burst of snowfall, visibility dropped well below a quarter mile and winds were gusting near or above 20 mph in town according to our instruments and the U.S. Coast Guard station. Continue reading “Were Those Snow Squalls?”
That was quite the winter storm for the 1st day of December! Three blocks south of downtown, we unofficially recorded a 12.1″ snowfall total. The official city COOP station near the lakefront reported 12.9″. That’s a new daily snowfall record for Marquette, assuming that number is confirmed by the local National Weather Service office. There was one other (unofficial) report in town of 13″.
Turns out, the storm concentrated its efforts further north than originally thought. More of Wisconsin was supposed to be in the mix. So my fears of it moving south and leaving us with another underwhelming snow total, as happened just 4 days beforehand, proved to be, let’s just say, “slightly off target”. Like a dart in the door frame.
Then there was the issue that so-called Winter Storm “Ezekiel” gave us twice the liquid precipitation (what you get when you melt a quantity of snow) than was modeled!
Also, during part of the morning and early afternoon, Lakes Huron and Superior hooked up to make extra snow.
Well, at least we had a beautiful sunny day to dig out!
Recap of Wednesday
The last winter storm that moved through the city on Wednesday (11/27) underwhelmed in terms of forecasted snowfall. In the end, I measured 4.1″. If I hadn’t cleared the snow boards immediately after the rain transitioned to snow (at 5:30 AM) to avoid melting and measured several times before the snow could settle, the result would have been a much lower total. Other reports from around town and nearby lakeshore communities were closer to 2-3″. The official city COOP station only recorded 1.0″.
There was plenty of precipitation embedded in that snow soup we received. This station’s final total was 1.36″ spread over 11/26-27. The COOP station reported 0.97″. NOAA “SWE analysis” (snow water equivalent) showed the city, in general, receiving 1.25″ – 1.5″ of precip. Up in Negaunee Township at the National Weather Service office, they received 3″ of precip & just over 16″ of snow! What a difference elevation makes!
Not since February 2015, has Marquette seen a high temperature (measured from 8AM – 8AM) below 0 degrees. Can we add another subzero day to the record books?
The Coast Guard station is only about 100 yards from the official station in Marquette. It reported a high of -2 yesterday. At our station half a block from the Vet’s Home, we reached a daytime high of -2.5.
Also we’re keeping an eye on whether a record cold high temp was achieved. The previous record of -3 was last set in 2014. Meanwhile, we await official word. I will post an update below once I know.
Another day spent below 0 is possible on Wednesday. We should escape the worst of it, though, as the main core of cold air slides south of us. Be careful if you are traveling south into MN, WI, IL or lower MI. Life-threatening cold is in store.
Relief looks to arrive this weekend. 30s maybe. Keep an eye on the extended forecast.
UPDATE 1/28/19 1:00PM: We’ve received the report. The official weather station in Marquette saw a high of 1 degree between 8AM Sunday and 8AM Monday. Therefore, no records or notable events.
Between 4 & 5AM this morning, there was a rise in temp. We hit -1. The Coast Guard reported 0. Guessing the official station rose to +1 around then.
Yesterday, November 13th, the high was 21 (both here and at the official COOP station). The coldest high temperature on record for that day in Marquette was 20 set most recently in 1919 (tied with 1883 & 1900).
We’ve recorded 5 days in row with lows in the teens! Normal lows this time of year in the city are around 30. Normal highs are in the low 40s. So far we are running more than 6 degrees below normal for the first 14 days of November. That follows a cold October.
If the forecast holds, it looks like there will be a slight bump in temps today, tomorrow, and Friday, although still not quite “normal”. Then we drop right back into well below normal temps for the weekend and the beginning of next week.
The Trend for 2018?
It’s been an up and down year so far, but we are all but guaranteed to end the year below normal — barring a record setting December.* The question is by how much?
Let’s put this into the context of the past few years. In 2017 the yearly average temperature was 43.5 (when data is adjusted to match the same period of observation employed by the COOP station). That’s almost half a degree below normal.** 2016 was about 1.4 degrees above normal. We don’t have a complete data set for 2015; however, the official station reported 0.7 degrees below normal that year. Assuming our current trend of -6.1 degrees holds for November and December is completely normal, we would end 2018 about 1.7 degrees below normal. To end 2018 above normal would require November to completely erase it’s 6 degree deficit in the remaining 14 full days followed by a December that was 14+ degrees above normal!
* An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that we were likely to end 2018 well below normal for the year (-3.5 degrees potentially). After discovering an error in the supporting math, I have softened the prediction. Additionally, I have revised the calculation method to match the measurement period of the official COOP station (an observation period of 8AM – 8AM in which each month starts and ends at 8AM the last day of the month). Note that the average temperatures reported in the yearly table on our weather history page are calculated by calendar days and months. We can do that since our station is automated. Whereas the COOP station has manually observed daily temperatures once per day using a minimum-maximum thermometer (in the mornings since about 1960 and in the afternoons before that) for over 140 years!
** First we take the normal yearly average temperature over the last 30 years as measured at the the official weather station for Marquette (located at the Water Filtration Plant on Lakeshore Blvd), which is 43.1. Then we determined the average difference between our station and the official station for every month of the year since August 2015 (listed in our weather history “normals” table under the “Depart” heading). That averages out to +0.76F. Or, put simply, 43.1 + 0.76 = 43.86 which rounds to 43.9. This preliminary number will improve over time as we collect more data.