Forecast calls for wet spring


News Editor

IRON MOUNTAIN – A long-range forecast from the National Weather Service calls for a wet spring that would ease a mild drought in the Dickinson-Iron area.

The U.S. Drought Monitor shows conditions ranging from abnormally dry to moderate drought in Dickinson, Iron and western Menominee counties as well as Florence, Forest and Marinette counties in Wisconsin.

The Climate Prediction Center is forecasting a greater than climatological chance of above average three-month precipitation over all of Upper Michigan from March through May, said Kevin Crupi, weather service meteorologist in Marquette.

In addition, there is a greater than climatological chance of above average temperatures across the east half of the Upper Peninsula from March through May, but normal temperature patterns in the west half, Crupi said.

Across the U.P., dry conditions are limited to counties along the Wisconsin border.

“Total January water equivalent precipitation ranged from as little as 1.25 to 1.5 inches over areas from Iron Mountain to Crystal Falls and Iron River to as much as 3.5 to 4.5 inches over the Keweenaw,” Crupi said.

Similarly, he said, snowfall varied from around 12 inches along the Wisconsin border to 70 inches or more at several spots in the Keweenaw, where Atlantic Mine in Houghton County led reporting stations with 83 inches. While accumulations were generally near normal along the Wisconsin border, they ranged from 125 percent to 150 percent of normal at many other U.P. sites.

At Iron Mountain-Kingsford, water equivalent precipitation in January totaled 1.26 inches, which was 0.03 inches above normal – but the lowest in the Upper Peninsula. Snowfall measured 11.8 inches, which was 1.9 inches below normal.

Despite some intense cold weather in the second half of the month, temperatures at Iron Mountain-Kingsford in January averaged 2.8 degrees above normal at 16.5 degrees.

“Since warmer air masses dominated more of the time in January, the mean monthly temperature between 13 to 20 degrees ended up 2 to 3 degrees above normal at most locations,” Crupi said.

Statistics for the Iron Mountain-Kingsford Wastewater Treatment Plant cooperative observer site are based on records that began in March 1931. Normals used are for the period 1981 through 2010.

The Dickinson-Iron area is at the northeast edge of a drought area that covers most of the western U.S. and is most severe in the High Plains region of Nebraska. Drought conditions range from severe to exceptional across all of Nebraska and Kansas.

Some other temperature and precipitation observations in the U.P. in January:

– Ironwood, average temperature 13.9 degrees, snowfall 40.1 inches.

– Baraga, average temperature 18.6 degrees, snowfall 24.5 inches.

– Big Bay, average temperature 19.8 degrees, snowfall 35.5 inches.

– Marquette, average temperature 20.7, snowfall 16.3 inches.

– Munising, average temperature 19.5, snowfall 54.9 inches.

– Newberry, average temperature 20.6, snowfall 42.7 inches.

– Iron River, average temperature 14.2 degrees, snowfall 13.5 inches.

– Garden Corners, average temperature 18.4 degrees, snowfall 22.3 inches.

– Manistique, average temperature 20 degrees, snowfall 30 inches.

Jim Anderson’s email address is