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      18 / -15
      28 / 18

      Storm Only Slowly Drifts Away

      A deep, very cold upper low (AKA "polar vortex") is forecast to be just northeast of Upper Michigan early next Thursday.

      The big storm brought heavy, wet snow, thunder and lightning, sleet, rain and very strong winds. The snowfall amounts were not as heavy as expected over the west. Thatâ??s because the storm moved farther west than was originally forecast. The storm moved northward out of Wisconsin and drifted to the western U.P. to a position over the Copper Country early this morning (Image 1 above). Still, Wakefield had 11 inches while Ironwood collected 10 inches of new snow. In the Keweenaw, the most snow fell in the higher elevations. Redridge reported 9 inches while an observer at Calumet measured 7.9 inches.

      The westward movement put the locus of heavy snow over eastern Minnesota and far northwestern Wisconsin where 10 to 18 inches of wet, heavy snow was common. In the U.P., little snow fell east of a line from Marquette to Norway where mostly sleet and rain occurred.

      The storm will slowly move to west of James Bay and then only drift eastward into Sunday. That will lead to brisk winds through the weekend. The position of the low in eastern Canada means progressively colder air will filter in through Sunday.

      Looking ahead, the pattern that has brought us one of the most persistently cold winters in history is reloading. The forecast upper-air for Sunday shows an immense blocking high over Alaska (Image 2). At the same time, energy is forecast to drop out of the high arctic into northern Canada. By mid-week, that energy is forecast to form another â??polar vortexâ?? just north of Upper Michigan (Image 3). (By the way, the polar vortex is nothing new, special or unprecedented. Every time an arctic blast hits the northern U.S. , a piece of the polar vortex drops south out of the arctic and delivers the cold air.) Temperatures are likely to stay below zero for at least a couple of days over much of the U.P. mid to latter portions of the week.