The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Gogebic Range blizzard turns to lake-effect snow

 

April 17, 2018

Ralph Ansami/Daily Globe

SNOW CONTINUES to fall in downtown Ironwood around 10 a.m. Monday, as a storm that began on Sunday lingers and creates a mid-winter type scene. Downtown sidewalks had been cleared, but they were impassable on some side streets.

By RALPH ANSAMI

ransami@yourdailyglobe.com

It took a bit longer than had been predicted, but the Tax Day Blizzard of 2018 arrived in full force across the Gogebic Range on Sunday.

The April 15-16 storm socked the Ironwood area with 10 inches of snow for the 24-hour period to 7 a.m. Monday, and more was on the way, as another two to three inches of fluffy stuff had fallen by noon in downtown Ironwood.

The 10-inch snowfall set a 119-year record for April 15-16.

A lake effect snow advisory continued in Iron County, Wis., through 1 a.m. today. Another four to six inches of snow off Lake Superior was possible, with hazardous driving conditions.

Area residents can handle excessive snowfall, but the strong winds that whipped around the snow made many roads impassable. Stretches of U.S. 2 and U.S. 51 had to be closed because snowplows couldn't keep up with the drifting.

The Minnesota State Patrol responded to 558 crashes and 1,058 vehicles hitting the ditch between Friday morning and Sunday afternoon. Included were 64 personal injury mishaps.

At 7 a.m. Sunday, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation closed U.S. 2 between Sanborn Avenue and Wisconsin 13 in Ashland. Drivers were asked to use Wisconsin 137.

Much of Wisconsin was blasted by the storm. There was much more snow to the south of the Gogebic Range, as parts of Shawano County in Wisconsin received up to 24 inches.

The National Weather Service office in Green Bay reported more than 23 inches of snow there by late Sunday afternoon. It was the second most snowfall ever recorded in Titletown.

Wisconsin Public Service crews reported around 22,000 electrical outages at one point during the storm in central and east central Wisconsin.

The WDOT advised as the storm approached that the 55 or 65 mph speed limit is a maximum speed for times when conditions are good or ideal, not when roadways are slippery and visibility is reduced.

Most activities in the Ironwood area were canceled both Sunday and Monday, including area schools, although Gogebic Community College began classes two hours late.

The latest snowfall brought Ironwood's seasonal total to 165.3 inches and rising.

April's total as of Monday morning was 22.7 inches. As recently as 2012, Ironwood received no snow in April.

The high of 22 degrees and low of 19 for the 24-hour period to 7 a.m. Monday compares to the long-term average high of 50 and low of 29.

It was heavy stuff. The 10 inches of snow at the Gogebic-Iron Wastewater Treatment plant off U.S. 2 melted down to 1.04 inches of precipitation.

An informational session scheduled for Monday in Wausau for businesses seeking to learn more about how to become subcontractors or vendors during the construction phase of the Foxconn project was postponed. The meeting is expected to be rescheduled for next week.

Slow down, drive safe

"It's northern Michigan, it's the weather we expect up here and you just have to slow it down and drive safe and get from point A to point B safely," Michigan State Police Trooper Alan Park said.

Before it was over, up to two feet of snow was expected across the Upper Peninsula through Monday, with winds up to 45 mph.

"Stay home, don't be driving in these conditions. If you do have to travel, plan ahead and if you don't have to travel, if you can wait or prolong it, do it," said Park.

Police said some Menominee County roads remained closed Monday morning because of high snow drifts. The Menominee County Road Commission was clearing County Road 577 with a front-end loader.

Some Menominee streets were closed.

In Minnesota and North Dakota, flood warnings were issued because of rising rivers.

Procrastinators who were scrambling to mail their taxes by the typical April 15 deadline received a break as the filing period had previously been extended to 11:59 p.m. today.

 
 

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