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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!

Winter Storm Recap & Preview

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!

Continue reading “Winter Storm Recap & Preview”

No More Snow Measurements

Unfortunately, I have decided to discontinue snow measurements. Last winter finally persuaded me of the limits of collecting and tabulating daily snowfall — even on a double city lot. The wind eddies around nearby structures result in huge drifts when winds gust upwards of 40 mph. As Marquetters know, this is an all too common event in the winter, particularly when storms come off Lake Superior. It then becomes very difficult or even impossible to separate drifted from newly fallen snow. Sometimes the snow boards are simply blown clean. Taking measurements from multiple locations won’t improve matters when everywhere around is subject to the same forces.

Continue reading “No More Snow Measurements”

Blizzard Updates

In reverse chronological order (newest first):

  • Measurement site is now open (as of 3 pm Monday) & ready for the next precip event!
  • The snow measurement site is currently blocked by 4+ ft drifts. Will dig out this afternoon. But I was able to see from a distance that only a trace of snow has fallen since the last report at 10:40 pm Sunday (at which time I body surfed through the snow to reach the gauge).
  • Winds should really start to fall off after noon today (Monday).
  • Our storm total from Saturday morning thru Sunday night is 12.3″ of snow. Likely we got a few additional inches but they found a home in nearby drifts.
  • Just recorded another low-ish snowfall measurement of 0.9″ at 10:40 pm. Can’t keep snow on the board.
  • As of 11 pm it appears that winds may have peaked in the 8 pm hour. Each successive hour has had a lower average wind speed.
  • NEW Station Record of 51 mph set at 9:03 pm Sunday
  • Winds should peak between about 7 pm – 9 pm Sunday
  • Last snow measurement of 1.2″ (representing snowfall between 7:30 am – 2:05 pm) is low. Unfortunately, snow is being blown off the collection surface. I left some snow on there so hopefully the incoming snow will stick to it. But with almost horizontal snowfall, it’s tough to measure! It all wants to collect in a drifted pile somewhere.
  • It’s possible we could break our station wind record (49 mph) in the next 24 hours.
  • We received some freezing rain overnight. About 0.2″. From what I could see, though, power lines and tree limbs were unaffected — no ice accumulation. Probably too much wind and too warm to stick. The really cold temps don’t hit until later tonight.
  • Almost an entire February’s worth of precipitation fell in the 24 hours ending 7:30 am Sunday: 1.22″. Normally we receive about 1.3″ of melted precipitation for the month. We’re now at 4.99″ for February 2019!

Snow Measurements On Hold

Due to a combination of intense recent snowfall, high winds, and limited space, we have nowhere to place a snow board where it is not subject to significant drifting. The city has become a labyrinth of snow piles that powerful lake winds are merging and leveling.

Therefore, effective 11 AM Friday 2/15, we are suspending snow measurements indefinitely.

Once the winds subside and/or the peaks reduce/even out we will resume snow measurement. Given the forecast of sunny to partly sunny days this weekend and limited snowfall in the next several days, hopefully that will happen by next week.

Note: a liquid equivalent reading taken from our gauge will continue to appear in the precipitation tables on our History page.

[UPDATE Saturday 2/16/19]: I have relocated a snow board to be further from any potentially drifting high spots to the north and northwest (two of the most common direction for snow in the winter here). After knocking on wood, I am now reinstating measurements. I have added 2″ to yesterday’s snow total as a minimum estimate of what fell after 8AM.