Don’t put away the shovel yet

Jordan Beck | Daily Press Escanaba resident Randy Kleiman gets some shoveling done Thursday. Based on information from the National Weather Service, the winter of 2017-18 could end up being a particularly cold and snowy one in the Upper Peninsula.

ESCANABA — Today is Groundhog Day. But despite what the furry weather forecasters may say today, information from the National Weather Service (NWS) indicates the remainder of the winter of 2017-18 could end up being a particularly cold and snowy one in the Upper Peninsula.

According to data from the Escanaba Water Treatment Plant, this may have already been the case last month. In January 2018, the Escanaba area’s average maximum temperature was recorded as 26.1 degrees Fahrenheit, the average minimum temperature was recorded as 10.7 degrees, and total snowfall accumulation was recorded as 17 inches. In contrast, January 2017’s average maximum temperature was 28.9 degrees, the month’s average minimum temperature was 16.3 degrees, and the month’s total snowfall accumulation was 9.1 inches.

Relatively low temperatures may persist through the end of the winter locally. Brett Borchardt, a meteorologist for the NWS’ Marquette office, said an extended forecast for the months of February, March, and April shows temperatures may be lower than normal in the area during this time.

He noted this could be especially true over the next few weeks. At this time, temperatures in the area may be close to those recorded during the “cold snap” seen during the end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018.

“It’s (going to) be similar to that,” Borchardt said.

Unlike temperatures, local precipitation levels could end up being higher than average from February through April.

“It’s looking like a good chance for above-average precipitation for much of the Great Lakes,” Borchardt said.

According to Borchardt, the possibility of harsh winter weather duringthe next few months is due in part to the presence of a weather event called La Nina.

“That’s definitely a (significant) factor,” he said.

Keeping these predictions in mind, Borchardt encouraged people in the area to be ready for the worst.

“It’s never too late to prepare for the next winter storm,” he said.