The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

 
 

Winter storm blankets Range

 

Katie Perttunen/Daily Globe

LILY PALMER shovels snow Friday afternoon in front of Ironwood's Downtown Art Place.

IRONWOOD - Storm Seneca packed a wallop on the Gogebic Range that was still being felt Friday evening, as blowing and drifting snow continued to make driving hazardous.

The Gogebic Range was hit with from a foot to 15 inches of snow on Thursday night into Friday evening, closing schools and businesses.

Strong winds continued into Friday night as the plows couldn't keep up with the drifting.

The impact of the storm was every bit as severe as the National Weather Service had predicted.

The thermometer dropped from high readings near 40 on Thursday to 10 on Friday night and wind chill readings plunged to well below zero.

It was heavy snow, as the 9 inches that fell for the 24-hour period to 7 a.m. Friday in Ironwood melted to .72 inch of precipitation, and lighter snow continued throughout the afternoon.

A Weather Channel reporter was stationed in Ashland throughout the storm, as winds whipped off Lake Superior and literally snowed him under during his frequent updates.

Another 1 to 3 inches of snow was predicted overnight for Ironwood and the National Weather Service indicated blizzard conditions were likely to continue across the Keweenaw Peninsula.

Two sections of U.S. 2 in the eastern Upper Peninsula and the Mackinac Bridge were closed Friday during the storm, according to Michigan State Police.

The bridge was closed because of low visibility.

Duluth and Superior received from 13 to 18 inches of snow.

South Range, near Superior, recorded 18 inches and 16 inches fell at the mouth of the famed Brule River on Lake Superior in Douglas County.

Gile had recorded nearly a foot up to noon Friday and Ashland stood at 11 inches.

The power was out in Ramsay Friday morning, but the Gogebic Range didn't experience the widespread outages that hit Wisconsin and Minnesota.

58,000 affected

Xcel Energy crews had restored nearly 55,000 customers in Wisconsin and Minnesota who lost power during the storm. About 58,000 customers were affected since weather conditions began deteriorating Thursday evening, according to Xcel.

On Friday afternoon, crews were working to restore service to 1,700 customers in west-central and northern Wisconsin and 1,900 more in Minnesota.

Freezing rain, sleet and heavy, wet snow combined with high winds, snapping trees branches and downing power lines.

Crews worked through the night, but were hampered by difficult weather conditions and poor roadways. Some roads were impassable and closed.  

Xcel Energy officials were assessing damage to the system and were receiving assistance from regional utility contractors and other utilities. There were 800 people working on repairs.

Xcel Energy cautioned customers to stay away from downed power lines and report their locations at 1-800-895-4999.

In addition, natural gas customers are urged to keep meters free of ice and snow to prevent the potential for a dangerous natural gas pressure build-up in their homes and businesses.

To report an outage, customers may call Xcel Energy's outage line 1-800-895-1999. If natural gas customers smell natural gas in their homes or place of work, they should leave immediately and call 1-800-895-2999, or 911.