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      Cold Wave Rolls Over the Land: Feb 5, 1885

      On February 5, 1885 it reached 28 degrees below zero in Ishpeming. A local newspaper reporter, acknowledging the persistence of the cold, wrote that the cold wave continued to "roll across the land." February 1885, like its counterpart the year before, actually averaged colder than January, finishing at 6.7 degrees versus 7.4 degrees in January.

      Excessive snow accompanied the cold. Even in southern sections like Escanaba there was â??more snow than anyone desires.â?? In the northern snow belts a huge cover accumulated by the beginning of February. Lumbermen around Ishpeming complained about the deep snow. â??Roads had to be made for every stick of lumber hauledâ?? as snow depths approached four and even five feet in the woods. Grand Marais turned in similar depths and the reporter added the following qualifier to avoid accusations of exaggeration: â??This is not a romance, but the result of actual measurement.â??

      No romance here when I state that this winter has been COLD. Through the first four days of February, the mean temperature is running over 11 degrees below average. This is in keeping with the predominant pattern since early December. Most locations stayed above zero last night due to clouds and/or wind. Some snow even fell out of the clouds as proof that while there is a lot of ice on Lake Superior, itâ??s not completely frozen yet. If you look closely at the image above, you can see fine strands of clouds running the length of the lake from the north end to near Marquette. A month ago, this would have meant heavy snow fall around the north-central U.P. Now, all the ice-choked lake can produce is flurries and light snow showers. Ice should continue to build, with variations in coverage due to shifting winds, as the cold should hang on for the foreseeable future.