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      Big Snow Kicks Off 1999

      The northern and southern branch of the jet streams were beginning to phase over the Plains as January 1999 began.

      A heavy snow blasted portions of the western and northern U.P. on January 2-3, 1999. Ironwood was buried under 20 inches of snow in 24 hours, while Calumet measured nearly 15. The snow fell on the backside of the January 1999 Blizzard that brought heavy snow over a wide area of the central U.S. Chicago had over 20 inches of snow, while Milwaukee had around over a foot. The three-day total at the National Weather Service near Negaunee was an impressive 31 inches.

      This storm developed with the phasing of the northern and southern branches of the jet stream. While the southern stream trough was rolling through west Texas, a northern branch disturbance was dropping through western North Dakota (Image 1 above). A day later, the result was a big closed low over Iowa which supported a strong surface low that deepened into the Great Lakes (Image 2). A perfect northeast to northerly wind brought lake-enhanced snow off Lake Superior to much of northern Upper Michigan (Image 3).

      No big snowstorms are in our immediate future. However, significant snow will fall across the Copper Country and eastern U.P. tonight. But overall, this is NOT a snowy pattern by any means, because it is so cold. The coldest air mass in years is still due in here beginning Sunday. After this pool of bitter air departs, it appears that more average winter weather will settle in later next week.