Weâ??ve been cold lately. However, our recent cold is due to high pressure locking in low-level cold and clouds. Back 21 years ago, the cold was truly a taste of the arctic. On November 7, 1991, the morning low plummeted to 2 degrees above zero at the National Weather Service (NWS) near Negaunee. It was the coldest for so early in the season.
This reading occurred during of one of the bitterest early-November periods on record. The cold funneled in behind a tremendous storm that brought over 3 feet of snow to Duluth on November 1-2. Upper Michigan received mostly rain from this low as it traveled over the western end of the Peninsula, keeping the region in the warm sector (Image 1). The low then lifted north into Canada and cold air blasted into the U.P. on strong westerly winds (Image 2). The cold then held on for over a week, with a general light-to-moderate snow over most sections on the 5th and 6th. That snow cover helped to drive nighttime temperatures even colder.
The cold blast of November 1991 produced five consecutive record lows which still stand. The weather moderated some by the 10th and warmed well above average for several days during the third week of the month. Just before Thanksgiving, however, winter returned again--this time in the form of a heavy snowstorm over a wide area. The month ended over three degrees below average with nearly four feet of snow. However, November 1991 did not set the table for the winter. The following December through January was mild in the same locations that saw November cold and snow.