Snow totals greatest since 2008

ESCANABA – The city of Escanaba has seen its highest snowfall totals this year since December 2008.

The Escanaba Water Plant, which keeps track of precipitation totals, has measured 23.25 inches of snow that has fallen so far this winter – 22.25 inches of which fell in the month of December alone.

That number is almost double the amount of snow that fell last year at this time when the water plant recorded 12.7 total inches of snowfall – with 11.7 inches falling in December 2012.

In December 2011, the total for this time of year was even less, with only 3.45 inches having fallen.

Compared to water plant data recorded since 2000 (except for the year 2005, which has no available data), December 2013 snowfall data accounted for the third-snowiest winter. The snowiest was back in 2008, when 44.6 inches of snow had fallen by this time. The second-snowiest was back in December 2000, when 28.6 inches of snowfall had been recorded.

Though more snow is sure to fall this winter, there are no significant amounts of immediate precipitation in the forecast, according to meteorologist Donald Rolfson of the National Weather Service in Marquette.

“As far as snowfall in the next few days in Escanaba, it doesn’t look like much,” he said, noting there is a slight chance of light snow late Friday into Saturday.

Though Rolfson says snowfall totals this winter are about normal for areas of the Upper Peninsula that do not see lake effect snow, areas on the Garden Peninsula have reported some pretty substantial snowfall amounts.

Predicting just what kind of weather the U.P. will experience in the final winter months proves to be a bit difficult, as Rolfson noted there is no indication the month will be significantly warmer or colder than normal according to the NWS climate prediction center.

“The cold air is going to be the biggest issue,” he said. “It looks like early next week it’s going to be really cold – at least as cold as it is now or maybe colder.”

Regionally, though, Rolfson said this year is off to a much colder start than the U.P. has seen in awhile. At the NWS office, they were 7.2 degrees below normal for December and the month of December 2013 was tied for the fourth-coldest on record.