Surprise system hits the Keweenaw

HOUGHTON – A lake effect snow system over the weekend dumped 16 inches of snow on Laurium, and other areas on the Keweenaw Peninsula had totals of 5 inches and more.

Keith Cooley, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Negaunee Township, said a band of lake effect snow was centered over Laurium and Calumet, which received 14.5 inches between 11 a.m. Saturday and this morning.

Cooley said the lake effect system Saturday and Sunday, which was a bit of surprise to forecasters, was the same as most lake effect systems.

“What it is is a lot of colder air funneling over Lake Superior,” he said.

The cold air which caused the snowfall came from the west/northwest, Cooley said.

Other snowfall totals Cooley had this morning include about 9 inches for the Hancock/Houghton area and 5 inches for Grand Marais.

The system barely touched the Marquette area, however, Cooley said, with the NWS offices recording 0.2 inches.

“We didn’t see much at all,” he said.

Although the lake effect system is still over the Keweenaw, Cooley said it should be gone by Tuesday morning.

“We really won’t change too much until later today,” he said.

The winds today will switch from the west/northwest to southwest, Cooley said.

“That will shove the lake effect band off the shore,” he said. “Overnight it will lighten up.”

However, Cooley said there is another system, which should provide another inch or so to the Keweenaw late Tuesday or early Wednesday. From Wednesday through Friday, another lake effect system could hit the area.

Weather led to several accidents. The Houghton County Sheriff’s Department reported four snow-related car accidents over the weekend, including a minor personal injury accident on Fifth and Pine streets in Calumet. In Keweenaw County, one vehicle ended up in a ditch.

For the season so far, Cooley said some areas of the Upper Peninsula are significantly less than average snowfall totals. For instance, at the NWS office in Negaunee Township, the average for this time of year is 91.4 inches, but only 51.6 inches have fallen so far.

Temperatures for the Keweenaw will be less than normal for the rest of the week, Cooley said. Temperatures will be only in the single digits tonight with high teens to low 20s for the day. The temperatures Wednesday could reach low 30s then drop to single digits overnight.