We have had a quick start to winter in Upper Michigan this year. The cold came in around Thanksgiving and, except for a mild spell to start December, it has been quite brutal. Through yesterday, we are running 9.5 degrees below average. The last week has averaged 18 degrees below normal. An almost complete reversal of the current weather pattern was experienced fifteen years ago.
A record high of 50 degrees was set at the National Weather Service (NWS) site near Negaunee on December 14, 1998. Iron Mountain had record highs from the 13th to the 15th with a simmering 54 on December 15, 1998??one of the warmest readings for so late in the season. Ironwood also cracked the 50-degree mark at mid-month. The first 16 days of December registered a remarkable 14.7 degrees above average at the NWS.
This was the last really warm day. The turn-around to winter really came on December 17 when nearly 5 inches of snow fell at the NWS. The next day nearly 8 inches was measured. It then snowed off and on for the next few days. Arctic air settled in on the 20th, and, for the most part, hung on through the end of the month into early January 1999. Just after New Year??s, a memorable, widespread snowstorm brought a deep cover from parts of Illinois, Wisconsin into the Lower Peninsula and parts of Upper Michigan.
No memorable snowstorms are foreseen around here. Outside of lake-effect, this is not a snowy pattern for Upper Michigan. This weekend should see some lake-effect in spots that do not usually experience the phenomenon. An Advisory for snow off Lake Michigan is in effect for portions of Menominee and Delta Counties on Saturday. Winds will turn in out of the east to southeast during the day as high pressure slides to our northeast and weak low pressure approaches from the northwest. Three to as much as six inches of snow may fall in areas of these counties close to Lake Michigan.