Snow has continued to pile up in parts of Upper Michigan. Through yesterday, the National Weather Service (NWS) east of Negaunee reported a season total of 184.5 inches. This is close to the 1981-2010 mean for the date. Up north in the Copper Country, Michigan Techâ??s Keweenaw Research Center in Calumet measured191.3 inches. This year, the Banana Belt has also done well. An observer at Escanaba reported around 80 inches for the season as of late last week. The average in Escanaba for an entire season is about 50 inches.
The snow total winner is our weather observer at Van Meer east of Munising. Itâ??s been a big year for system and lake-effect snow in the eastern U.P. Through last evening (and there has been a little more since), 300.7 inches is the total since the first flakes fell last October.
Snow makes a huge difference in temperature, especially at this time of the year. For instance, the low at the NWS this morning was 2 above zero. It was the coldest April low in five years. Back on April 2, 2008 after a 25-inch snowstorm on March 31-April 1, the low fell to 3 above zero. The year before, two consecutive sub-zero nights occurred after the massive snowstorm earlier in the month. In contrast, last year the lowest temperature the entire month was 19 degrees.
Snow will be slow to leave Upper Michigan this year. Thatâ??s because of the thick snow cover to the north that covers virtually all of Canada. The atmospheric pattern is such that cold high pressure is lingering over the snow pack. Weâ??ll need a major shift in the pattern to begin eroding that snow cover. Right now it does not appear to be on the immediate horizon. In fact, as systems begin to progress eastward off the Pacific, there is a chance of some late-season snow events in the Upper Peninsula. The first chance will come up early this weekend. Low pressure will pass to the south of the U.P. If the precipitation shield makes it this far north, some wet snow is likely.