Chill sends region into deep freeze

ESCANABA – Delta, Menominee, and Schoolcraft counties remain under a wind chill advisory due to frigid temperatures, set to expire this afternoon.

A wind chill advisory is in effect for the area until 1 p.m. EST today as a very cold airmass continues to pour over the Upper Great Lakes region, according to the National Weather Service in Marquette.

Subzero temperatures combined with wind are expected to drive wind chills down to 20 to 30 degrees below zero through this morning, according to forecasters.

The cold snap prompted the cancellation of local schools today.

The Escanaba Water Plant recorded a chilly start to this morning with a recorded temperature of -13.5 degrees and a wind chill of 33 degrees below zero at 8 a.m. this morning.

On Monday, the highest recorded temperature at the water plant was 5 degrees, with a low of -10. Monday’s peak wind speed in Escanaba reached 35 mph.

The lowest reported temperature for Escanaba available from the NWS this morning was -15 degrees at the Delta County Airport, while Manistique experienced a low of -11.

NWS Meteorologist Megan Dodson said the expected high temperature for the Escanaba area today is 3 degrees, while Manistique will only see a high of about 7 degrees.

“We’ll probably warm up tomorrow relatively speaking,” said Dodson, as high temperatures Wednesday are expected to reach 12 degrees in both areas. Temperatures will continue to slowly increase through the remainder of the week before reaching the upper 20s by the weekend.

Dodson noted temperatures are still quite above the lowest temperatures on record for the Escanaba and Manistique area for this time of year. The lowest temperature for Escanaba on record was -24.7 degrees on Feb. 18, 1979, while Manistique’s lowest temperature was -25 degrees back in Feb. 12, 1899, she said.

Still, with the frigid temperatures, the NWS reminds the public of the dangers of frostbite on exposed skin, which can occur within 20 to 30 minutes when wind chills are under 25 degrees below zero.

Delta County Sheriff Gary Ballweg said it’s important for people to dress in layers and plan their trips accordingly during extreme cold conditions. He said people should carry a cell phone with them when driving and have extra clothing available, such as a heavy coat, gloves, hat and blanket, in case of a break down. It’s important for people to cover themselves up to prevent exposure of their skin, he said.

“If you … leave your car running, make sure you lock it and have an extra set of keys,” said Ballweg.

Motorists should also make sure to always carry a full tank of gasoline during cold weather.

“If you do break down along the road, get off the road as far as you can and turn your flashers on. Someone will come along soon,” he said.

Motorists should also make sure to take good care of their vehicles and ensure they are ready for winter driving conditions.