Winter snowstorm buries area

Ilsa Matthes | Daily Press Snow piles lined the center of Ludington Street in Escanaba Monday morning following a storm that dropped nearly 23 inches of snow on some parts of the city Sunday. According to the National Weather Service, the storm system has moved eastward and no major precipitation is expected for the remainder of the week.

ESCANABA — Heavy snows that pummeled the region Sunday left schools closed across the area as residents struggled to dig themselves out of their homes.

Sixteen inches of snow fell in Escanaba in the 24-hour period ending this morning at 7:15 a.m. according to the city’s water plant, which maintains its own daily precipitation records. However, according to snow totals reported to the National Weather Service by spotters, some areas of the city saw as much as 22.9 inches of snow.

Gladstone saw slightly less precipitation according the the National Weather Service, with roughly 20 inches of snow recorded in the city, and the Rapid River area saw 18 inches.

In other parts of the U.P., northern Menominee County saw roughly 20 inches in the Dagget area. Steuben in Schoolcraft County’s Inwood Township set the record for the Upper Peninsula with 26 inches, but most of southern Schoolcraft County saw between 15 inches and two feet of snow.

Houghton, which normally receives large amounts of snow from winter storm systems, received only 6 inches of snow Sunday.

“It seemed like the heaviest snow amounts were in the southern U.P. this time as opposed to the north,” said Jacob Horton, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Marquette office.

According to Horton, the heavy snows were the result of a low pressure system that pulled moisture from Lake Huron spinning counter-clockwise over the Upper Peninsula. Once the system hit Lake Superior and Lake Michigan, it picked up even more moisture, leading to Sunday’s heavy snows.

“Some parts of the interior didn’t get those heavier bands (of snow), because they were not lake enhanced,” said Horton.

The system itself has pushed further eastward and is expected to drop 10 to 20 inches of snow by Tuesday morning in and along the East Coast between Pennsylvania and Maine. More than 180 flights into or out of the U.S. were cancelled Monday morning, and more than 450 more were delayed according to the Associated Press.

“What they’re getting today is what we had yesterday,” said Horton.

For the U.P. however, the forecast in much milder. The extended forecast for Escanaba shows no precipitation until Sunday, when rain and snow are possible.

“Nothing like what we’ve had the last five days,” said Horton.

Despite the clear forecast, The National Weather Service has issued a hazardous weather statement for the western and central Upper Peninsula. Residents are warned that any snow melting Monday will refreeze overnight and could produce icy spots, especially on untreated roads and sidewalks.