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      March 20: First Day of Spring, Last Day of Big Snows?

      This was the view at Twin Lakes yesterday after nearly 2 feet of new snow fell in less than 24 hours.

      Spring arrived at 7:20 Eastern time this morning and with it, came the core of the coldest air with the current storm.

      The storm is slowly spinning away. As it does, snow will start to diminish, especially on Thursday. It appears that after this event winds down in the snow belts, we will be done building our snow pack for the winter. This does not mean our pattern is flipping to a warm one; quite the contrary. It looks like a colder than normal pattern into early April. However, the storm track looks as if it will be suppressed well south of Upper Michigan for the next ten days or more. That means that the rising sun angle and lengthening days will slowly begin eating away at the winter snow cover despite the fact that temperatures through this period will likely average below normal.

      The snow cover across much of the U.P. is impressive. This morning, there was a covering of 20 inches in Gladstone, with 16 inches in Norway and Stambaugh. Farther north, the National Weather Service (NWS) near Negaunee had 39 inches on the ground. This is down a bit from the season high of 43 inches the other day. By the way, there were six days the NWS had 40 inches or more on the ground. Thatâ??s the most days since way back in the winter of 1997. That season saw an incredible 44 days with 40 inches or more on the ground including 13 days with 50 inches or more after the big mid-March storm that year.

      Currently, Twin Lakes has a cover of 50 inches along with Grand Marais. It appears that Grand Marais has quite a bit more than that after heavy snow a good share of the day. Other locations in the exclusive 40-inch club include Bergland Dam (40), Atlantic Mine (45) and Munising (40). Finally, a NWS Cooperative Observer at Hoist Dam in western Marquette County reported a snow cover of 60 inches early this morning!

      Left-over lake-effect snows will be gradually diminishing Thursday into Thursday night. Right now, it appears that the sun may shine, at least at times, from Friday through the weekend. That means are snow cover will begin to slowly disintegrate around the edges.