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Winter Storm Wrap-up (2/21/22 – 2/23/22)

After 50+ hours of snowfall, the sun finally appeared this afternoon!

This was a storm for the record books on parts of the Lake Superior Plateau (Negaunee area) where they received over 37″!

Down closer to the lake, we measured 18.3″ between 8 AM Monday the 21st and 5 PM Wednesday the 23rd. Meanwhile, the city’s official station recorded 13.5″ from 8 AM Monday to 8 AM Wednesday (we only recorded an additional 0.6″ after 7 AM). No daily or monthly records appear to have been set in Marquette.

Yes, “Twosday” (2/22/22) was by far the snowiest day of any February in our 5 years of measuring snow. In fact, that day ties 12/01/2019 for the snowiest one-day total on our record books. However, the December day produced 1.44″ of melted snow. Whereas yesterday the snow only melted down to 0.65″. Much lighter snow this time around! You can thank the colder temps for that — something you might have thought you’d never do.

It appears this was a very elevation-dependent storm system with Big Bay recording 20″ and similar numbers as ours from a station in Harvey close to the lake. Further up in Trowbridge (elevation: ~1000′), we see totals approaching 2 feet. That all makes sense since the lake definitely played a big part in the storm. Lake-effect (or enhanced) snowfall is quite subject to forces of elevation. For reference, we are 100′ higher than the official COOP station in Marquette, which partially explains our higher snowfall totals (generally, in fact).

Not for nothing, the website quadrupled it’s normal traffic on the 23rd! Google really likes our snowfall measurements and weather history pages. Many thanks to our dedicated visitors who encourage us to keep marching out into the wind-driven snow to take those measurements all winter long!

Winter Storm “Atticus” Wrap-up

Beginning around 9 PM on Friday December 10th and lasting through about 2 PM on Saturday the 11th, an area of deep low pressure tracking near the Straits of Mackinac resulted in significant snowfall at our station near downtown Marquette. Overall, we measured 7.8″ of heavy, wet snow, although up to an additional inch may have fallen and gone unrecorded due to slightly above freezing temperatures, wind and sunshine. Our storm total was similar to a nearby report in Trowbridge of 8.5″.

Our highest wind gust during that period was 37 mph in the 11 AM hour. The 11th was the windiest day of the month so far in terms of sustained winds.

Our only real impact was time spent removing snow from the property afterward. No power outages were experienced during the storm.

For a detailed hourly breakdown, please check out our Weather History page and select the dates above (Dec 10-11, 2021). We don’t offer hourly precipitation data, but all other parameters like wind, temperature, and pressure will be available.

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.!

Live Blog (April 12-13, 2020)

NOTE: Entries are in reverse chronological order. This page does not automatically update.

  • 4/13/20 3:50 PM
    Winds continue drifting westward, shutting down lake-effect snow production. We’ve had no measurable snow since 12 PM. Humidity has dropped to around 65%. This should spell the end of our snow storm. I see that the National Weather Service has pulled down the Winter Storm Warning that was supposed to last through tomorrow morning. Gusty winds should subside over time, especially after sunset. But do mind the lakeshore flood warning and stay clear of Lake Superior as it takes some time to settle down after winds abate. Anyway, that ought to do it for our live blog. Again, our storm total was 17.2″ as measured 1 block north of the Jacobetti Veteran’s Home near downtown Marquette.
  • 4/13/20 2:45 PM
    Some light flakes continue to fly but nothing significant. The focus now is on the wind. Even as the trough of low pressure crosses into Quebec, it continues to deepen, drawing air from areas of higher pressure, such as Marquette, toward it. How big is this system? Well, it has 5 frontal boundaries extending from it, including 2 cold fronts stretching down into the Gulf of Mexico!
  • 4/13/20 1:15 PM
    After declining for about 4 hours, winds have kicked back up in the last hour as the surface low exits the region. Gusts nearing 35 mph have been observed here. Snowfall has tapered off to light snow showers as winds have turned solidly to the northwest.
  • 4/13/20 12:20 PM
    Light snowfall. Latest measurement (10 AM – 12 PM): 2.1″. Event total: 17.2″
  • 4/13/20 10:00 AM
    Moderate snowfall. Visibility 1/4 – 1/2 mile. Snowfall measurement (7 AM – 10 AM): 1.2″. Event total: 15.1″
  • 4/13/20 9:30 AM
    Some lake-enhanced snowfall could set up soon, lasting at least into the early afternoon hours. Conditions are somewhat marginal, so not expecting too much additional if the lake gets involved. Knock on wood because this is spring in the U.P. and Mother Nature likes to take a shot at us this time of year. Currently less than 1/4 mile visibility due to blowing snow.
  • 4/13/20 8:55 AM
    Looks like we’ve bottomed out in surface pressure. Our gauge recorded 998.7 mb (29.49″) MSLP at ~ 7 AM EDT. The center of the low is located near Sault Saint Marie. It should slowly march NE into Quebec this afternoon. We should be nearing the top of the mountain in terms of winds within the next hour or two (if we haven’t arrived already).
  • 4/13/20 8:25 AM
    Moderate snowfall continues. Visibility is generally 1/4 – 1/2 mile but localized blowing snow creates near whiteout conditions at times. Gusty northerly winds (30-35 mph gusts) continue to buffet the city.
  • 4/13/20 7:30 AM
    Winds continue to ramp up over the last several hours. The peak wind gust measured so far here is 34 mph but 40 mph does not seem not out of reach by later this morning. Fortunately, the moderate to strong winds throughout this storm have kept power lines free of snow.
  • 4/13/20 7:00 AM
    Moderate snowfall. 1/4 – 1/2 mile visibility. Snowfall measurement (9 PM – 7 AM): 8.2″. Event total: 13.9″
  • 4/12/20 9:00 PM
    Moderate snowfall. 1/4 – 1/2 mile visibility. Snowfall measurement (6 – 9 PM): 3.6″. Event total: 5.7″
  • 4/12/20 7:45 PM
    Heavy snowfall continues. Visibility between 1/8th – 1/4 mile. Next snowfall measurement at approximately 9 PM.
  • 4/12/20 6:05 PM
    Visibility has dropped to approximately 1/8 mile due to heavy snowfall. 2.1″ measured so far.
  • 4/12/20 5:30 PM
    Snow is beginning to stick to roadways too now. Visibility is just over 1/4 mile.
  • 4/12/20 4:05 PM
    Snow is beginning to stick to grassy areas around our property now. Cement is wet but free of snow.
  • 4/12/20 3:25 PM
    Initial snowfall this afternoon has been melting on contact due to the relatively warm ground, but temperatures have been falling over the past couple hours.
  • 4/12/20 9:00 AM
    Expect the snow to start flying by mid afternoon. Heaviest snowfall after 8 PM. Winds should stay light to moderate until daybreak Monday.  Winds will build after that point reaching a peak in the afternoon. Blizzard-like conditions are likely as it will be snowing all day Monday. As per usual, I will report periodic measurements & observations here throughout the event. Keep checking back.

Freezing Drizzle AND Snow?

You may wonder, “How can it snow & drizzle at the same time?”

Short answer: when clouds aren’t cold enough to produce snow (exclusively or at all) drizzle can form.

Longer answer: If the air is sufficiently cold and wet, only snowfall is possible. But when precipitating cloud top temperatures are above -10° C (14° F) but still below freezing, the ice nucleation process requires help. Unstable, rising air can induce the formation of snowfall. Failing that, with only slightly below freezing temperatures, snow crystallization needs smoke, dust, pollution or any other tiny airborne surface upon which to bond. Otherwise precipitation can fall as drizzle/mist.

Why today? We’ve had a shallow layer of moist, sub-freezing air (< 5,000 ft) “capped” by warmer, drier air above since Sunday evening (1/26/20). Cloud tops have been just below -10° C. The moist air from sublimating snow/ice and weak low pressure has combined with onshore, upslope winds to induce some lift in the lower atmosphere. This, along with whatever particulates were aloft, produced snowfall. The remaining moisture has fallen as drizzle which froze upon contact depending on the surface composition. Most surfaces weren’t cold enough to allow much, if any, ice accumulation. A light glaze has been observed in places around our property — just enough to increase stopping distances on untreated pavement.

Normally this time of year clouds are much colder. But we have been running well above normal throughout the atmosphere recently. That’s why we’ve had several wet snow events in December & January.

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