â??They changed the songâ?|to â??Itâ??s January in Juneâ?? as startled Ishpeming residents, thinking they had seen the worst in a record cold May, watched a cold June rain turn into a swirling snowstorm.â?? The opening sentence in the local paper described the latest, heaviest snowfall in Upper Michigan history.
The date was June 2, 1945. It was a Saturday and Kip Waters of Negaunee had gotten back home from camp at Goose Lake. He left on foot Friday afternoon with a friend. â??It was a beautiful day, 70 degrees,â?? he recalls. â??We got half way out there and it rained, from out of nowhere.â?? They decided to keep going and arrived at the cabin thoroughly drenched. After building a fire in the stove the two boys dried out and took to the lake for some fishing. They got soaked again, dried out by the fire and stayed in for the night. On Saturday morning, they fished a little, then Waters said, â??we better get out of here,â?? after he became convinced the weather would not improve. Later that afternoon, â??about four oâ??clock, five oâ??clock,â?? he remembers, â??I was walking across Main Street in Negaunee at Iron Street and it started snowing.â??
It snowed into Sunday June 3 and it stuck. Veteran highway employees declared that never before had equipment been brought out of the county garages in June to clear snow off the roads. Waters says he went to Sunday school the next morning but first had to shovel the sidewalk and in front of the garage before his father could pull out the family car. He remembers hearing of a number of cars getting stuck just east of Negaunee near the Carp River Bridge on old Highway 41 (now Heritage Drive). The cars got down the hill into the river valley and could not plow through the greasy, wet snow back up the hills on either side of the bridge.
In Ishpeming â??some of the finest snow pictures of the yearâ?? were missed because â??no films were available.â?? Shrubbery and trees were coated with a thick mantle of white and some residents were concerned about their flowering fruit trees and the gardens they had just planted.Ironically, spring of 1945 started very warm. March 1945 displayed temperatures similar to March one year ago. The month came in over 13 degrees above average. April then cooled back some, but was still quite a bit above average but May temperatures took a dive; the month came in nearly five degrees below average. The chill continued into June and brought the anomalous snowfall. Over the last 100-plus years of record-keeping in the U.P., June 1945 stands out as the greatest snowfall so late in the season.