Winter storm stresses resources, residents; schools canceled another day
MARQUETTE – A winter storm continued to blow through the area this morning, forcing school and road closures and leaving a record snowfall in its wake.
According to the National Weather Service in Negaunee Township, 12.4 inches of snow fell Tuesday, breaking the previous record for Feb. 19 of 7.7 inches, set in 1984.
Most schools in Marquette and Alger counties – and across the entire Upper Peninsula – were closed today, and M-28 between Munising and Harvey remained closed this morning. M-28 was closed Tuesday afternoon when heavy winds caused blowing snow, low visibility and icy road conditions for motorists, according to the Michigan State Police. Side roads along M-28 were also considered “extremely hazardous” as of press time this morning.
Motorists were also having difficulty driving along M-94 and for a while Tuesday, police were not recommending travel on either route.
Shortly before 9 a.m. today, MDOT officials said crews from the Marquette and Alger counties road commissions were working from both ends of the M-28 closure to clear drifts as quickly as possible, with several hours of work remaining before the highway could be reopened.
The weather service was reporting north to northwest winds gusting as high as 45 to 50 mph near Lake Superior, creating blizzard conditions and making travel “difficult if not impossible in places.” The NWS was also reporting that M-94 was “treacherous.”
The weather service reported 10.9 inches of snowfall in a 24-hour period at its office in Negaunee Township, with a total of 13.9 inches from the entire storm.
Places in Alger County – which was under a blizzard warning until 11 a.m. today – received 19.7 inches of snowfall from the storm. Places near Calumet reported 10 inches while places near Baraga reported 9 inches of snowfall.
“Most people got between nine to 15 inches from the storm,” said NWS meteorologist Megan Dodson.
Though the storm continued to blow its way across the U.P. with a vengeance this morning, it’s expected to dissipate this afternoon.
“Winds will die down quickly this afternoon, making the conditions a lot more quiet,” Dodson said.
A winter weather advisory was in effect until 11 a.m. today for all of Marquette County, with lake effect snow showers expected to continue over far eastern Marquette County, from Harvey and Skandia to the Alger County line. Snow accumulations of up to 3 inches are possible.
Things are looking up for the weekend however, as a high pressure system moves in Friday that will decrease cloud cover and offer the possibility of some sunshine to round out the week.
“It certainly isn’t going to be like the last few days we’ve had,” Dodson said. “The next low pressure system that comes across the U.P. will bring some snow for Friday and Saturday, but it shouldn’t be nearly as much as it was. It looks like we’ll have 3 to 4 inches. It won’t be as intense as this storm has been.”
The Michigan State Police maintains a Winter Travel Advisory page with roadway condition reports at www.michtip.state.mi.us/rw, and MDOT has road closure and delay information, as well as weather camera views, available at www.michigan.gov/drive.
Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242.