Blog

Record Cold in Marquette

Following 2 days of highly unusual lake-effect snow (8″ recorded at our station), Marquette saw it’s coldest October 27th in recorded history. NWS Marquette has confirmed that the low of 20° this morning set at the COOP station near the lakefront broke the old record of 22° set back in 1887.

October is running about 5° below normal. As of the morning of 27th, this is the 19th coldest October on record (since 1857). Finishing in the top 20 certainly appears doable if the forecast holds.

Overall, we’ve had a cool (meteorological) autumn so far as September was also a couple degrees below normal.

We’ll just have to see what the winter brings. It could all turn on a dime next month. But at least the weather’s never boring in the U.P.!

Post Thanksgiving Winter Storm Recap

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!

Rethinking Snow Measurements

Earlier I announced the end of snow measurements. Well, after thinking it over some more, I decided on a compromise solution. I will continue measuring snow but only as time, weather, and health permits. This may or may not happen at 8 AM each morning. I may skip days entirely. Or I may just put in an estimate if the wind has wreaked havoc on the measurement area. After all, these are unofficial numbers intended to give an example of what’s happening in the city.

I’ve created a new Snow Measurements page which will list any and all measurements throughout the season (October 1 – May 31).

Hope everyone enjoys the info!

Subzero Sunday

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.

Snow Much Confusion

Sometimes, when you hear or read “a new record was set in Marquette today” in media reports, they are referring to the National Weather Service office in Negaunee Township. Such was the case yesterday, when it was widely reported that a daily snow record of 8.9″ was set on November 19th. Marquetters may have been scratching their heads thinking, “We maybe got 5 or 6″. I don’t see how we got 9!”

You may already be aware that the phrase “NWS Marquette” does not refer to the city proper. Sometimes, however, that phrase is omitted or put in small letters at the bottom of a graphic when discussing “Marquette’s” weather. It’s especially confusing for people who aren’t from here (students, for example) or visiting.

There’s about an 8 mile and 800ft elevation difference between the weather service forecast office just outside Negaunee and the lakeshore of Marquette. As a result, the former averages approximately 200″ of snow annually. The city of Marquette, as measured at the COOP station on Lakeshore Blvd, receives a yearly average of just under 120″. So about 40% less snow falls there than at the NWS office.

In Real Terms

To illustrate, on Nov 19-20 when the NWS office measured 12.3″, the Marquette COOP reported 6.7″ (and that’s including part of the 18th and 21st too). We’re 1 mile SW of the COOP station as the crow flies, and we recorded 6.1″ of snow for the 19th and 20th.*

So, no, we’re not under measuring. It may seem like Marquette received more than half a foot during that period, but drifts are excluded from our measurements. Boy are they impressive in places though! The gales will do that.

That said, we’ve still had one incredible November for snowfall! Officially, 14.2″ of snow had fallen by 8AM today. The normal total for the entire month is 10.9″. Unofficially, at our station next to the Vet’s Home, the 8AM total was 17.3″ with 9 days to go! We tend to measure a bit more snow at our location than they do down at the lakefront. That’s because:

  1. We are about 100′ higher which usually means more snow.
  2. We measure more often which prevents snow from sublimating (evaporating), melting or compacting.

Well, if you’re in Marquette, I hope you like a white holiday. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

————————-

UPDATE (later that day): Here’s an example headline: Marquette in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula sets daily snowfall record. While this is from downstate, I’ve seen similar things from the local media here.

UPDATE (11/22/18): Speak of the devil, here’s a link to local media spreading confusion: Monday’s snowfall breaks record for Marquette. Earth to media: we have a 147 years of public weather records in Marquette, and, oddly, they weren’t measured in Negaunee Township.

————————-

* The NWS and this station record weather from midnight to midnight. The COOP station records from 8AM – 8AM making daily comparisons a bit difficult.