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      U.P. weather of 2011

      Nationally, 2011 will go down in the record books as a very active year in weather. A dozen of extreme weather events cost the country over a billion dollars, each, in storm damage.

      "We've never had an instance of that many occurrences of billion-dollar weather disasters in one year," said N.W.S. Meteorologist Matt Zika. "We look back and a lot of people are going to remember the tornado outbreaks that affected other parts of the country."

      But Upper Michigan didn't see a lot of severe weather; it was mainly a quiet year for us.

      One reason for that is because of how dry it was.

      "Obviously, if we're not having that much precipitation, then we're not going to have a lot of those extreme events that people would typically remember during a particular period of time," Zika said.

      2011 was one of the top 10 driest years ever recorded in the U.P.

      We started off with little snow between the months of January and March. Some April rain showers chipped away at our precipitation deficit. But the drought returned during the next few months, along with plenty of summer heat.

      "Even though we had that warm weather, and it was one of the warmest Julys on record, there were only four days with temperatures of 90 or above. And the average is three," said TV6 Chief Meteorologist Karl Bohnak. "So, the extreme heat really wasn't there."

      There was enough instability in the atmosphere around August to support U.P. tornadoes, a rarity here. A tornado with winds in excess of 90 mph, damaged trees and homes in Ontonagon, causing no injuries.

      Later that day a stronger tornado caused a fatality in Wausaukee, Wisconsin before briefly entering the U.P. to cause tree damage.

      A powerful windstorm blew 50-70 mph winds across the U.P. near September's end, causing power outages in Marquette county and downing thousands of trees.

      The first significant winter snow came in early November from a storm which dropped over a foot of snowfall across Upper Michigan.

      But other than that, there have been no other big snows so far.

      As 2011 comes to a rather mild and dry close, more snowfall is needed across our area if we're to have a normal U.P. winter.