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      April 23, 2013: More Snow Means More to Melt

      Is this Churchill (Manitoba) or Chassell? A Copper Country resident having fun with photography as snow fell again yesterday.

      The big April snowstorm did indeed materialize over the western U.P. Snow amounts ranged from a few inches of wet snow in eastern Baraga, far western Marquette and portions of Iron County to around 10 inches in and around Ironwood.

      The storm caused widespread closure of schools, especially in Gogebic and adjacent Iron County Wisconsin. I got an email question yesterday on when was the latest date that schools were called off for a winter storm. I thought it might have been on April 29-30, 1996. Thatâ??s when a 14-inch snowstorm pounded central Upper Michigan. Then again, it may have been as late as the infamous May 9-10, 1990 storm. My memory is fuzzy, not on these storms, but on whether or not schools were closed. Back in those days, officials were more reluctant to close school because of weather.

      Snow totals for the season are eye-popping after a slow start. An observer from Soo Hill near Escanaba reports over 90 inches of snow for the season. At the National Weather Service (NWS) near Negaunee, around 209 inches have been measured. Finally, the Keweenaw County Road Commission at Delaware tallied about 304 inches of snow yesterday morning before the latest storm began. The snow cover was also an impressive 46 inches.

      Speaking of snow cover, it all has to melt and that will happen soon. The big warm up we alluded to yesterday is still on schedule. The NWS is already warning of snowmelt flooding beginning by early next week. Certainly there will be flooding of traditional flood-prone rivers like the Sturgeon and Trap Rock in the Copper Country. However, unless there are big rains with a sudden warm up, flooding should not be major. At this point, it appears that this will be a relatively dry warm up.