The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

 
 

Latest cold snap to end Wednesday

 

Ralph Ansami/Daily Globe

BLUE ICE on Lake Superior at Little Girl's Point, north of Ironwood, is a common winter occurrence, but it usually occurs in late February or March. On Sunday, there was plenty of blue ice piled up not far from shore.

In what has turned into one of the most brutal area winters in modern history, the Gogebic Range on Monday shared in the bone-chilling cold that hit much of the Midwest.

Area schools canceled classes Monday as the overnight low dipped to -20 degrees across the Gogebic Range, with gusting winds sending wind chill readings to 40-below. Many school districts also canceled classes for today.

The blue ice that arrived near shore at Little Girl's Point on Lake Superior over the weekend looked soothing, but intermittent snowfall accompanied the bitter cold along the lakeshore.

The 3 inches of snow that fell on Ironwood for the 24-hour period to 7 a.m. Monday was whipped around by the wind, creating white-out conditions for drivers Sunday evening and into early Monday.

It had "warmed up" to -11 by 1 p.m. Monday in Ironwood.

It was even colder at Big Powderhorn Mountain, near Bessemer, where the chairlifts were shut down because of a -39 degree wind chill reading just after noon, with winds out of the north at 20 mph.

Area law enforcement officers investigated dozens of weekend accidents, including some involving personal injuries.

The National Weather Service's Marquette office forecasts slightly warmer temperatures today and a high of a relatively balmy (plus) 16 for Wednesday.

A lake effect snow advisory remained in effect through Monday evening, with a wind chill warning remaining in effect until noon today.

White-out conditions were still possible in the Porcupine Mountains area through Monday evening with wind chills as low as -45 to continue into Wednesday morning.

We are not alone

Ball State, Indiana, University's David Call, a severe weather expert, said most of the Midwest is suffering through the coldest January since the 1980s.

"None of the coldest Januaries have occurred in the last 25 years, so this month is considerably colder than what we have experienced in recent memory," Call said.

Many of the coldest Midwest Januaries on record occurred in the 1970s and 1980s, including 1977, 1978 and 1979, Call said. "Anyone over 35 has experienced weather like this before - just not recently," he said.

Call said the recent weather pattern has consistently featured a ridge of warm air in the western U.S. and a trough of cold air in the eastern U.S. The jet stream has been pushed far north into western Canada before plunging far south into the southeastern U.S.

"While we have been cold and snowy, the western U.S ., especially California, has been hot and dry," he said.