Calm after the storms

Area digs out after two major storms in a week

Snow-covered trees are pictured near Harlow Park in Marquette this morning. (Journal photo by Corey Kelly)

MARQUETTE — Several hundred residential customers in Marquette and Delta counties were still without power this morning, schools were closed an extra day, and Northern Michigan University canceled morning classes as the region digs out from its second major snowfall in less than a week.

Upper Michigan Energy Resources Company, or UMERC, reported as of press time that 72 residential customers in Marquette and Delta counties are still without power, while Upper Peninsula Power Company Business Development and Communications Vice President Brett French said 360 outages were in the process of being resolved.

“There are a number of them in the Ishpeming area, and a number of them in the Gwinn area, and 170 of the them are in Delta County,” French said. “We are down to just those three trouble spots which we are very aggressively working on as we speak.”

The National Weather Service in Negaunee Township reported 16.5 inches of snow accumulation on Sunday, which fell short of the record 25.5 inches in 1985 with precipitation of 1.94 inches also falling short of the 1985 record.

Areas of Schoolcraft County were reportedly inundated with 26.5 inches of accumulation Sunday, NWS office officials said.

The new snow totals added to travel and power issues caused by 16.4 inches of snow accumulation and a record 3.02 inches of precipitation that fell in the area on Wednesday.

French said the second storm system caused additional outages, some of them in different places than Wednesday’s event.

He said the weather has made the work to restore power “very difficult” due to impassable roads especially in remote areas.

“All of the UPPCO crews and contacted crews have worked very long hours out of the gate starting on Wednesday,” French said. “Folks have been working 16-hour shifts only coming off for mandatory rest periods and going right back on. The road commissions have also been a tremendous help. They have been very good at getting us into areas that otherwise we would not have gotten into.”

While French expects the remaining power outages to be resolved today, he said the danger is not over.

“Heavy snow and ice continues to be a concern, as the sun comes out and snow and ice falls from the trees onto power lines,” French said. “We have seen quite a number of broken poles already and we continue to urge people to report downed power lines and steer clear.”

Lisa Bowers can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242.


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