MARQUETTE - Strong winds and snowfall were expected to continue today as part of a winter storm which blasted the region Thursday, knocking out electricity to dozens of homes and making driving difficult for motorists.
Several accidents occurred Thursday as the storm began to wind up and traveling conditions worsened, while today cars were in ditches or stuck in frozen snow and slush at intersections. No injuries were reported.
"In terms of accidents, we were in good shape today, the biggest problem was vehicles getting stuck," said Sgt. Kevin Dowling of the Michigan State Police Negaunee Regional Post. "The snow is so heavy and full of water, when plows throw that up, people have a hard time getting through that."
Marquette Board of Light and Power utility crews repair a transformer near the intersection of West Washington Street and McClellen Avenue across from Shopkoat about 9 this morning. Several inches of heavy, wet snow that fell overnight is believed to have caused the transformer to malfunction. (Journal photo by Matt Keiser)
The National Weather Service office in Negaunee Township reported over 16 inches of snow fell there since 7 a.m. Thursday. Chippewa County saw the greatest amount of snowfall, with 18 inches logged at Kinross.
Along the Lake Superior shoreline, snowfall amounts were much lower, but winds were stronger, with gusts logged over 50 mph. Across the region there were widespread gusts over 40 mph, with a 52 mph gust recorded at Sawyer International Airport.
Utility crews worked to repair sporadic outages this morning, with work being done near Washington and McClellan in downtown Marquette, where a power line was reported downed and sparking Thursday night.
Power clicked on and off in several locations overnight, including downtown Marquette.
Winds snapped a power pole along U.S. 41 near Menards in Marquette Township.
The Upper Peninsula Power Co. reported outages to 275 homes in the Escanaba area today, about three dozen homes in Ishpeming and a few in Houghton and Munising.
Dowling said secondary roads were reported in bad shape, with primary roads open, but ice-packed.
The winds and snowfall were both predicted to continue today. For Marquette County, up to three inches of new snow was expected and north winds of 20 to 30 mph were forecast to decrease to 15 to 20 mph this afternoon, while winds along the shoreline were still expected to blow between 30 and 40 mph. The potential for snowfall was predicted to drop to 20 percent tonight.
John Pepin can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206.