Winter cold invaded much of the northern United States including Upper Michigan in early November 1951. Already in late October a sign of the coming cold appeared on the weather map in the form of an expansive area of arctic high pressure over the Northwest Territories (Image 1 above). Cold air draining off this system filtered into the northwestern United States, while low pressure developed on the main cold front in the northern Rockies. This low brought snow to a good share of the U.P. on Halloween. Ironwood collected a daily-record 4.2 inches, while Marquette had 3.3 inches. Bitter cold air followed the system.
Ironwood registered its earliest below zero reading, going one under the zero mark on November 2, 1951. The next day the temperature plunged to 4 below. In Iron Mountain, daily record lows were set the first six days of the month. These readings included the earliest zero (November 3) and earliest below zero temperature (November 6, -1). The six record-low still stand though on November 4, 1991, during a similarly bitter beginning to the eleventh month, the record low of 12 degrees was tied.
This unseasonably cold start led to a cold November centered on the western Great Lakes (Image 2). Marquette was five degrees below average, the fifth coldest on record. The cold didnâ??t hold through the winter as the period December through January ended somewhat above average.Cold is beginning to intensify over interior Alaska and the Northwest Territories of Canada (Image 3). In the coming days, that cold is forecast to ooze southward. We will warm significantly over the next several days. Right now it appears that if the cold is to reach us, it will not be until after mid-month.