HOUGHTON – Millions of people in the eastern United States are undoubtably sick of this winter, because of the excessive snow and cold. Although snowfall in the Upper Peninsula has apparently tapered off, forecasters say the cold will probably be around for at least two more weeks.
Dave Petrovich, forecaster with the National Weather Service in Negaunee Township, said weather patterns in the upper atmosphere, including high pressure over the western part of the country and low pressure over the east, are keeping much of the country in colder than normal temperatures.
“It’s allowing the cold weather to move farther south,” he said.
The combination of the high and low pressure systems creates a trough, which allows Arctic air to move into the United States, Petrovich said.
Petrovich said the length of time the colder than normal temperatures have lasted has surprised weather forecasters because forecasting models from early January showed temperatures getting to normal by early February.
“That hasn’t happened,” he said.
Normal highs for this part of February are in the low 20s, with lows around 4 degrees, Petrovich said. Highs for the Houghton area Friday, Saturday and Sunday were 12, 12 and 9 degrees, respectively.
Petrovich said there is no appreciable warming of temperatures in the forecast for the next 8 to 14 days. There will be two weak systems moving through the area Wednesday and Friday, but they shouldn’t produce much drama as far as snow is concerned.
“Those are not tapping into any appreciable moisture,” he said.
The lake effect, which brings most of the snow to the Keweenaw Peninsula every winter, is probably done for this season. Petrovich said this is because Lake Superior is about 90 percent frozen over. Cold air passing over the relatively warmer Lake Superior produces most of the snow, which falls on the peninsula every winter.
Today and Tuesday, Petrovich said high temperatures will be 10 to 17 degrees, and for the next 10 days, there is a better than 50 percent chance high temperatures will be below normal.
“There’s no indication the patterns are going to change,” he said.