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First winter storm hits region

A half foot of snow drops on Upper Peninsula, northern Lower Peninsula

January 2, 2012
By KYLE WHITNEY - Journal Staff Writer ( , The Mining Journal

MARQUETTE -The first major winter storm of the season passed through the Upper Peninsula Sunday, leaving behind plenty of drifting snow.

According to the National Weather Service in Negaunee Township, the highest weekend totals came to the east and west of Marquette. More than 7 inches of snow during a 24-hour period was reported in Ontonagon County and in the Newberry area.

Winds, which reached gusts of 61 mph just off the shore of Lake Superior in Marquette, lowered visibility and made a moderate accumulation of snow seem much worse.

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"I would say between today and yesterday, we've only gotten between 3 and 3.5 inches," NWS Associate Forecaster Jane Marie Wix said this morning. "There's a lot of error, probably, in that because it's drifting so bad."

Wix said the snow is expected to continue through the day and into the evening, and city residents can look for an additional 4 inches. In the Negaunee area, totals will be slightly lower.

Alger and Luce counties may have gotten the worst of the storm. Reports from that area indicated snowfalls of up to 7 inches of overnight snow and forecasts are calling for up to an additional 7 inches today.

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High winds and blowing snow lowered visibility and created large drifts in the Marquette area. Here, a snow-blown Washington Street is seen this morning. As of midnight Sunday, the storm had dropped about 3.5 inches of snow on the Marquette area and more than 7 inches on some parts of the state, according to the National Weather Service in Negaunee Township. (Journal photos by Kyle Whitney)

The weather has been caused, in part, by a band of snow trapped between two competing pressure systems.

By Tuesday morning, Wix said, both the wind and the snow should die down.

"By daybreak, it should be mainly to our east and over the Keweenaw," she said. "Once the high pressure we have to our west starts to set in, we should really clear out at that point."

Snow also blanketed the Lower Peninsula over the weekend, with 7 inches accumulating near Gaylord.

According to the NWS, parts of the northwestern Lower Peninsula could see totals between 12 and 18 inches, with 6 to 10 inches of lake effect snow along Lake Michigan on the western edge of the state.

Kyle Whitney can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250.



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