Substantial rain fell across a good share of the Upper Peninsula on October 14, 1954. The rain was caused by a low-pressure area that formed over the southern Plains and then headed northeast toward the U.P. while intensifying (Image 2 above). A daily-record 1.08 inches of rain fell in Iron Mountain, while Ironwood picked up 1.75 inches. By early on the 15th, the storm was located on the northeast end of Lake Superior.
The big upper-air trough supporting the storm then dug southeastward into the Ohio Valley. The southerly flow ahead of this system drew up and entrained Hurricane Hazel, the deadliest and costliest storm of the 1954 Hurricane season.
Hazel made landfall in the Carolinas and then raced northward over the northeastern states. The storm was unusual in that it retained its power even as it crossed over 600 miles of land. The former hurricane was particularly destructive in Toronto where it remained as powerful as a category 1 hurricane.
By early on the 16th, the remnants of Hazel and the old low that brought the rain here merged into a powerful fall storm near Georgian Bay (Image 3). Cold air draining in on its backside then brought the first snowflakes of the season to the northern U.P.After a warm first portion of October, our first official freezing temperature occurred at the National Weather Service (NWS) near Negaunee early this morning. This ties the record for the latest freeze at the site. Changes will continue to evolve this week and It appears the coldest air mass of this young season will descend on Upper Michigan this weekend. Some snow will likely fall in at least the higher elevations sometime before the weekend is through.