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Winter begins with snowstorm

December 21, 2012
By Jason Raiche - Staff Writer , Daily Press

ESCANABA - Residents of Delta County and other areas across the Upper Peninsula felt the full effects of Winter Storm Draco this morning as crews continued to plow roads and local schools were forced to cancel classes for the day.

The Escanaba Water Plant recorded 7.5 inches of total snow accumulation in Escanaba this morning. The highest wind gust recorded there was 51 mph at 7:12 a.m. today.

Meteorologist Mike Dutter from the National Weather Service in Marquette said many areas across the U.P. experienced large accumulations, including 16.4 inches of heavy, wet snow recorded at the NWS building in Negaunee Township. Manistique had 7 inches reported as of Thursday night, while a report of 10 inches came in from south of Wetmore near the Alger-Delta County line. Powers had 12 inches, while further south Stephenson saw 9 inches, each reported as of Thursday night. Dutter said the storm should not affect the area for the weekend.

Article Photos

Holly Richer | Daily Press
Schools throughout the area were let out early Thursday, but the weather conditions didn’t stop children from enjoying some time outside. Above, MacKenzie Clark, 7, forefront, and Ava Fix, 8, use teamwork to hoist the head onto their snowman in the yard at Fix’s house in South Escanaba. Area schools were also closed today.

"It actually should be quieting down here for the weekend," he said. "For today you're going to have some snow showers, especially north of Escanaba." These areas could see an additional 2 to 4 inches of accumulation, while other areas of Delta County could experience flurries and light snow.

Locally, all area schools were canceled today, which ironically is the first day of winter. Some schools closed early Thursday afternoon due to the storm.

Locally, law enforcement in Delta and Schoolcraft counties received several reports of cars in the ditch and snow covered roads beginning Thursday. The Delta County Sheriff's Department responded to a rollover accident Thursday, which resulted in no injuries.

In Escanaba, five accidents were reported within city limits since Thursday, according to Escanaba Public Safety Lt. Rob LaMarche. Two of the accidents involved vehicles in the ditch.

"One thing about when you get a big storm is it slows people down quite a bit," said LaMarche, whereas in other times of smaller snowfall accumulations, people generally drive faster and more accidents are reported.

Crews from the Delta County Road Commission and Escanaba Public Works Department were out early to clear the roads this morning.

"It's going well," said Steve Ammel, assistant superintendent of Public Works. "There's been no major breakdowns. The crew got out this morning at 2:30 a.m. It's wet, heavy stuff, and it's slippery."

As for the forecast this weekend, Dutter said things look fairly tranquil. Saturday should usher in partly cloudy skies with highs in the upper 20s, while there is a slight chance of snow Sunday morning with highs in the mid-20s. Next week looks pretty dry, though there is a slight chance of snow around Christmas. However any accumulations are expected to be minimal, said Dutter.



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