Spring snow smothers area
IRONWOOD — Blizzard-like conditions dumped more than 17 inches of snow across the Gogebic Range Thursday and Friday and it continued to snow heavily into the night.
Winds up to 40 mph whipped around the snow and created white-outs, making driving nearly impossible.
A total of 7 inches of snow fell for the 24-hour period to 7 a.m. Friday in Ironwood and it snowed much more after that, sending the seasonal snow total near the 200-inch mark. As of 7 a.m. Friday, it stood at 189.7 inches.
Gogebic Range schools were closed Friday, extending a string of winter snow cancellations well into spring.
It began snowing and raining Thursday and the weather station at the Gogebic-Iron Wastewater Treatment plant recorded 1.3 inches of precipitation for the 24-hour period. The precipitation started out as freezing rain that made roads slick and slushy.
All of that precipitation added to the potential of flooding throughout the area, as there was an average of around 20 inches of snow standing on the ground, much of it of the hard-packed variety.
The wind was whipping off Lake Superior at 30 mph at Saxon Harbor on Friday night.
The National Weather Service office in Marquette said the snow was expected to continue into early today, with 2 feet possible before it was all over. The storm total was between 15 and 17 inches in Ironwood as of 6 p.m. Friday.
On Friday night, the Marquette NWS office said the snow was falling at the rate of more than an inch an hour and the strong wind continued to cause considerable drifting.
The snowfall for April could set a 100-year record. The record is 43 inches set in 1928 and Ironwood was only a few inches short of that mark heading into Saturday.
The forecast called for mostly cloudy skies today, but no major snow.
There was a 60 percent chance of snow Sunday, while rain was in the forecast for Monday and Tuesday.
The NWS office in Duluth reported Cornucopia, Wis., received 22 inches of snow through Friday afternoon, Maple had 18 and Washburn totaled 16.3.