Area seeing more snow than last winter

ESCANABA — Though it is far from over, the Upper Peninsula’s current winter is already shaping up to be more severe than the winter of 2015-16. Representatives of the National Weather Service’s Marquette office and the Escanaba Water Plant said that snowfall totals in Delta and Schoolcraft counties for the winter of 2016-17 have been higher than those seen last winter so far.

Justin Titus, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service’s Marquette office, said that almost 31 inches of snow has fallen in Gladstone so far this winter.

“This year, they’ve had about 30.9 inches of snow so far for the season,” he said.

The area’s snowfall totals were considerably lower at this point in the previous winter.

“2015-16 had 12.1 inches — (there’s) quite a bit more,” Titus said. Gladstone’s snowfall total at this point in the winter of 2014-15 was recorded at 35.9 inches.

According to Patty Franks, chief of operations at the Escanaba Water Plant, Escanaba’s snowfall totals for the winter of 2016-17 have already exceeded those seen during the previous winter. As of Jan. 18, 2017, the plant had recorded 28.5 inches of snow; in contrast, just 24.2 inches were recorded over the entire winter of 2015-16. (A snowfall total of 40.67 inches was recorded in Escanaba for the winter of 2014-15.)

Snowfall totals in the Manistique area this winter were also higher than those seen in the area last year.

“Manistique so far this season has had 28.1 inches,” Titus said. At this point in the winter of 2015-16, about 10.2 inches of snow had fallen in the area; 36 inches had fallen at this point in the winter of 2014-15.

The National Weather Service also has temperature data for Manistique, Titus said. Between Dec. 1, 2016, and Jan. 16, 2017, the average temperature in Manistique was 21 degrees. During the same time period in the winters of 2015-16 and 2014-15, the city’s average temperatures were 28.9 degrees and 19.8 degrees, ­respectively.

Titus said he believes the primary reason that weather conditions were relatively mild for the winter of 2015-16 was a lack of storm systems in the Upper Peninsula during the season.

“We didn’t have a lot of storm systems moving through the area,” he said.

Warmer temperatures may have played a role in limiting snowfall totals during the winter of 2015-16, as well.

“That could have been the case,” Titus said.

Titus said that if current trends continue, he expects the winter of 2016-17 to end up being a typical one in the Upper Peninsula.

“So far, it looks … pretty close to an average winter through the rest of (this) winter,” he said.