The winter of 2001-02 started slowly. Low snow accumulation, especially over southern sections, forced the organizers of the U.P. 200 Sled Dog Race to move the course away from its traditional Escanaba turn-around point. The route was changed from Marquette to Grand Marais. The change became permanent.
The race could have traveled down to Escanaba. A storm at the beginning of February brought a good coating of snow to most of the U.P. However, race officials had to decide before the storm hit. The snow kept on coming with storm after storm during February 2002. On February 26, 2002, low pressure moved from Kentucky north to near Detroit supported by a deep upper-air trough over the Upper Upper Great Lakes (Image 2 above). Northerly winds on the backside of the low brought heavy snow off Lake Superior to north-central sections of the U.P. The National Weather Service (NWS) near Negaunee had 19.4 inches of snow --the largest calendar-day total during a record-breaking month. There were four storms with over a foot of snow plus a number of smaller events.
February 2002 brought 91.9 inches of snow to the National Weather Service site near Negaunee--a February record. Ironically, this total is a record for any month at the station despite the fact it was measured during the shortest month. The heavy snow continued into March. Just three days later, another storm dumped nearly 20 inches of snow on the north-central U.P. The winter of 2001-02 became the snowiest on record at the NWS with a total of 319.8 inches; breaking the old record by nearly 50 inches.