The track of a low-pressure or storm system is critical in determining what type of precipitation will fall, especially in early season storms. A perfect example of this fact is found in the system that moved into Upper Michigan November 12, 1982. Low pressure moved through eastern Upper Michigan putting that area in the â??warm sectorâ?? of the system.
Low pressure developed in a familiar place for significant winter stormsâ??Coloradoâ??on November 11, 1982. It then swung northeastward, passing over the eastern U.P. the next day (Images 1 and 2 above). Heavy precipitation occurred, with daily-record amounts at Ontonagon, Ironwood, Houghton, Iron Mountain and Munising. Warm air brought up ahead of the low made for all rain in Munising (1.65â??) and mostly rain in Iron Mountain (1.03â??). Farther west in the cold sector, heavy, wet snow fell to the tune of 10 inches at Ironwood and Ontonagon. The snow had a water-equivalent of 1.50 inches in Ontonagonâ??a very wet snow. The Houghton-Hancock area hit the jackpot with a daily-record 17-inch fall. This mark was by far the heaviest calendar-day snowfall in the month of November. The National Weather Service near Negaunee was right on the dividing line between rain and snow receiving 1.24 inches of water equivalent with an undoubtedly sloppy 7.2 inches of snow.
November 1982 ended very close (-0.3) to average, but little snow fell the rest of the month. Then came December and with it, much above average temperatures through most of the month. Temperatures soared to 30 degrees above average on December 1 and 2. It then rained on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The month ended 5.4 degrees above normal. The winter of 1982-83 was a very mild one as one of the strongest El Nino events in recorded history occurred. Strong El Ninos highly correlate to mild winters in Upper Michigan.