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      March Meltdown!

      This was my backyard yesterday morning. There is a 3 1/2 foot fence in the foreground buried.

      Abundant sunshine helped warm it up nicely after a very cold start. Officially, the low at the National Weather Service (NWS) near Negaunee hit 4 below zero. It went to 5 below at the Houghton County Airport and 13 below at Stambaugh in Iron County and also north of Ishpeming on North Camp Road. Thatâ??s what happens on a clear night with fresh snow cover; the temperature tumbles. Speaking of snow cover, the NWS got a report this morning of a 56-inch snow cover at the Hoist Basin on the Dead River system in western Marquette County.

      The increasing sun angle combined with southerly winds brought temperatures up dramatically this afternoon. Highs reached well into the 30s in most locations. This will probably the warmest day weâ??ll feel in some time. It will certainly pale the heat wave at this time in 1995. Between March 11th and March 15th that year the temperature averaged over 20 degrees above the long-term normal. There were three consecutive highs of 60 degrees or above. The snow melted a little around the edges today, but in 1995 it literally disappeared. A 37-inch snow cover on March 9 dwindled to 3 inches by the 16th.

      And who could forget last year? There was a 44-inch snow cover on March 5, 2012. On March 14, the cover had dwindled to 13 inches when the high reached 63 degrees. Four days later there was only a trace left.

      Our snow cover will stay with us for some time to come. Thatâ??s because there is a huge reservoir of cold air left in Canada and it appears we will have a pattern conducive to bringing some of that refrigerated air into Upper Michigan for an extended period. Image 2 above shows the temperature forecast about a mile above the ground for Sunday morning. Note the minus 21 Celsius (6 below Fahrenheit) line over central and eastern Upper Michigan. That is bitter cold air at any time of the year; certainly for mid-March. That will likely translate into highs here at the ground barely reaching 20 degrees in many locations.