On May 13, 1857, Bishop Frederic Baraga reported from Sault Ste. Marie that "the last little pile of snow...finally melted" from under his window sill. Spring 1857 was cold and miserable with snow and freezing temperatures through much of April and the first portion of May.
A weather observer near Eagle Harbor on the tip of Keweenaw Point described the unseasonable May 9 storm at that location. The day started relatively mild with an early morning temperature of 46 degrees. Then the wind shifted to the north about mid-morning and dense fog flowed inland off the Lake. The temperature fell to 28 degrees and stayed steady throughout the rest of the day. The wind then veered to the northeast and picked up to near gale force by late in the day when snow began falling. Two to three inches of snow fell and ended that night. By the next morning, the temperature stood at 17 degrees and rose to only 23 by mid-day on the 10th!
To the east, Baraga's journal began on May 16 with this sarcastic declaration: "Bravo O Spring! You delightful month--month of ice!" His patience was likely worn thin by another heavy snowfall. On May 21, 1857, he observed that the St. Marys River was still "full of floating ice." Finally on May 23 he "only made a fire in the morning," a sure sign that the long, cold winter and backward spring of 1857 was finally coming to an end.
We eased out of our backward spring over the last week or so. However, it still appears that we will take a step back over the next few days. The big upper-air trough thatâ??s been anchored to our west is forecast to redevelop over the Upper Great Lakes as the week wears on. That means well below average temperatures through the end of the work week. It will also be unsettled with a chance of some showers, mainly inland away from the Great Lakes during the afternoons. There could even be a little snow mixed in at times over some locations. However, at this point, it does not appear that significant amounts of precipitation will fall.