Winter storm blasts through area

ESCANABA – While today’s weather may be a welcome reprieve from Wednesday’s storm, the effects of the heavy snowfall and high winds may still be felt across the area.

According to the Escanaba Water Plant, 8 inches of snow fell in the city throughout Wednesday. The National Weather Service’s Marquette office reports Gladstone received 5.6 inches, Manistique received 10 inches, and a monitoring location northeast of Cooks received 8 inches.

According to Jane Marie Wix, meteorologist at the NWS Marquette office, locations farther east seemed to receive greater snowfall amounts.

“They got more of that banding effect from the lake effect snow,” she said.

In addition to the snowfall, wind gusts in the Escanaba area hit highs of 45 mph, causing white-out conditions.

“High winds create more of a hazard than the snow itself,” said Escanaba Public Safety Capt. Jamie Segorski, adding even clear roadways can become hazardous when snow begins to drift across open areas.

“Many times you’re coming through areas where there might not be snow on the road so you might be traveling a little faster,” he said, noting drivers may not be expecting blowing snow.

According to Segorski, Wednesday’s weather conditions did cause a rise in the number of accidents reported, however, most were property damage accidents.

“We’re fortunate to live in an area where people know to give themselves a little extra time to get where they need to go,” he said.

Temperatures were also a factor in the storm. The Escanaba Water Plant reports Wednesday’s overnight low was 15 degrees, and the low wind chill was 3 degrees below zero. The high temperature for the day was 35 degrees.

Today the NWS predicts there will be very little precipitation in Delta County. One or 2 inches may fall in the northern and eastern parts of the county, which will be impacted by the system moving over Lake Superior and causing lake effect snow.

While today’s conditions will not create the driving hazards seen Wednesday, many area schools opted to close their doors due to lingering road conditions.

“The roads are snow covered and slippery,” Segorski said this morning. With plows and equipment, Segorski predicted roadways would be clear and passible by this afternoon.