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      12-14-1998: Will Winter Ever Arrive?

      Chicago was buried under nearly 2 feet of snow in the blizzard of early January 1999.

      We have had a slow start to winter in Upper Michigan this year. I heard someone comment that it seems more like fall then winter. That may be a bit of a stretch. However, there is no doubt that itâ??s been warm. Through yesterday, we are running 6.3 degrees above average and snow, for the most part, has been light. It was even warmer during December 1998. The U.P. was still basking in fall-like conditions that became established around Thanksgiving.

      A record high of 50 degrees was set at the National Weather Service (NWS) site near Negaunee on December 14, 1998. Iron Mountain had record highs from the 13th to the 15th with a simmering 54 on December 15, 1998â??one of the warmest readings for so late in the season. Ironwood also cracked the 50-degree mark at mid-month. The first 16 days of December registered a remarkable 14.7 degrees above average at the NWS.

      This was the last really warm day. The turn-around to winter really came on December 17 when nearly 5 inches of snow fell at the NWS. The next day nearly 8 inches was measured. It then snowed off and on for the next few days. Arctic air settled in on the 20th, and, for the most part, hung on through the end of the month into early January 1999. Just after New Yearâ??s, a memorable, widespread snowstorm brought a deep cover from parts of Illinois, Wisconsin into the Lower Peninsula and parts of Upper Michigan.

      No memorable snowstorms are foreseen into at least early next week. The system coming up on Saturday will have marginal temperatures to work with. That means wet, sloppy snow will fall with a good chance that rain will mix in, especially in the east due to the warming influence of Lake Michigan. In fact, precipitation will likely be mostly rain close to the shore. Even where itâ??s all snow, only a few inches at best are likely.