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      12-21-2012: Quite the Storm

      Heavy snow fell through a good share of the U.P. Even the "Banana Belt" got hit. This photo is from a weather watcher in Escanaba.

      The snowstorm drifted away and weakened today. The system had a strong impact on a large area of the Midwest from the Central Plains to the Upper Great Lakes. The heaviest snow fell from Wisconsin through eastern Upper Michigan into the far northern Lower Peninsula. Up to 20 inches of snow fell northwest of Milwaukee. Many locations from near Escanaba to the hills around Marquette to Munising to Newberry, Manistique and the Sault had a foot or more of snow.

      Some of the more impressive totals included 15 inches at Arnold in southern Marquette County, 15 inches at the Sault, 16.7 inches at the NWS and 20 inches from an observer southwest of Ishpeming. On the other hand, the least snow fell in the Copper Country. An observer near Houghton measured only 2.8 inches for the whole event. The snow fell with temperatures near freezing and this led to a wet, heavy snow that was hard to move and dangerous to drive on.

      Last night as the system wound up and drifted northeast into the Lower Peninsula, the winds cranked up. Peak gusts included 46 mph inland at the Ford Airport in Kingsford; 50 mph at Munising and Big Bay and 52 mph at Sawyer International. The strongest wind gusts occurred along the shore of Green Bay at Menominee. A gust there of 64 mph was measured. A bit inland at the airport, 63 mph winds occurred. Farther north, at the Shiras Power Plant in Marquette, a 64 mph northerly wind gust was also observed early this morning. Fortunately the wet snow didnâ??t blow around that much, so an all-out blizzard did not occur. On the other hand, the wet snow broke tree branches that led to scattered power outages across the U.P.

      Now, a quiet period of weather will settle back in. General high pressure will dominate into the Christmas holiday. While it will chill back a little, the core of the arctic air will remain over north and northwest North Americaâ??at least for the time being.