Storm buries area

IRON MOUNTAIN – A spring snow storm resulted in three to five inches of snowfall in the Dickinson County area, canceling classes at most area schools today.

Todd Kluber, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Marquette, said the Iron Mountain area received three to five inches of snow during the overnight hours on Thursday into Friday.

The Iron Mountain-Kingsford Wastewater Treatment Plant in Breitung Township reported 5.5 inches of snowfall.

Seven inches of snowfall was recorded in Marquette, six inches in Munising and Newberry and five to nine inches in the eastern half of the U.P. with the highest amounts, nine inches, reported in Escanaba and Manistique.

Kluber added light snow will continue to fall throughout the day today with additional accumulation of one inch.

“Some locations, such as the northern portion of Dickinson-Iron county may see two inches,” he said. “Temperature wise, we are sitting right around freezing today and mid 30s tomorrow. It will be in the mid 40s Monday. A rain system Sunday night into Monday may bring a little snow Sunday afternoon then transition into all rain.”

A slow-moving low pressure system over southern Lake Michigan will continue to move northeast through lower Michigan today. As this occurs, moderate to occasionally heavy snow will gradually diminish from south to north this morning and then transition to lake enhanced snowfall over the northwest half of the Upper Peninsula this afternoon.

Gusty northeast winds will cause blowing and drifting snow through mid-afternoon close to the Great Lakes. Snow will continue to decrease in intensity this afternoon, but snow showers will continue into tonight.

A winter weather advisory expired at 10 a.m. for Florence and northern Marinette counties.

The three inches of snow that fell across northern Wisconsin and combination of snow, freezing rain or drizzle has resulted in snow and ice covered roads.

Due to the road conditions and more snow falling, many area schools were closed today. Those include Bark River-Harris, Beecher Dunbar-Pembine, Bishop Baraga Catholic, Breitung Township, Dickinson-Iron Tech, Florence, Forest Park, Iron Mountain, North Central, North Dickinson, Norway-Vulcan, Rapid River, Escanaba, Niagara and Gladstone.

The Goodman-Armstrong Creek School District and West Iron County Schools had a two-hour delay.

Flood watches are in effect through Friday for much of the central and southern Lower Peninsula.

Some roads flooded Wednesday and Thursday, and flooding due to heavy rain and melting snow closed some roads in parts of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. Road closures first were reported Wednesday in Midland, Bay and Saginaw counties due to flooding.

Genesee County Drain Commissioner Jeff Wright told The Flint Journal that rain has caused problems “in every corner in the county.” The Flint area got nearly 3 inches of rain since Wednesday, and the National Weather Service says another half-inch is forecast Thursday.

In the area, Wright says Thread and Kearsley creeks were flooding. The Flint River was expected to exceed flood stage later in the day.

The weather service reported flooding on several Lower Peninsula waterways Thursday evening.

The Tittabawassee River at Midland was 1.2 feet above flood stage, and the Rifle River near Sterling, about 30 miles north-northwest of Bay City, was 1.4 feet above flood stage.

Kearsley Creek near the Flint suburb of Davison was 4 inches above flood stage, and the Cass River at Vassar was 2 inches over.

Heavy rains overloaded a wastewater treatment plant in Saginaw County’s Buena Vista Township, The Saginaw News reported, leading workers to release treated waste water on Wednesday and Thursday into the outfall that flows to the Saginaw River.

Heavy rain fell Thursday in southeastern Michigan, where WWJ-AM reported roadway flooding. Freezing rain is expected in West Michigan.

In Wisconsin, flooding was reported across the southern and central portions of the state after several days of heavy rain. In eastern Wisconsin, there was flooding along the Milwaukee River flooded in Thiensville and the lower Fox River in New Muenster, while the East Fork Black River in Jackson County overflowed on the other side of the state.

However, the rivers seemed to be at or near their peaks by early Thursday afternoon, said Rudy Schaar, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

“At this time of year if the ground is still frozen the water has no place to go, so it’s going to be looking for routes to get to the river,” he said. “That’s what we’re seeing here.”

There were scattered reports of flooded basements but no major structural damage or injuries to people, Wisconsin Emergency Management spokeswoman Lori Getter said. Most of the 30,000 people who lost power Wednesday had their electricity restored by Thursday, she added, with full restoration expected by Friday.

The Baraboo River at Rock Springs was expected to top out near 21 feet by noon Friday, above its flood stage of 18.5 feet, Schaar said. The Sheboygan River crested at 10.3 feet Wednesday but had fallen about a foot by Thursday, he added.

In Thiensville, about 20 miles north of Milwaukee, the Milwaukee River was near the top of its banks, prompting the city’s Department of Public Works to distribute sand and sandbags. Stacks of sandbags surrounded Fiddleheads Coffee Cafe, where barista Ross Lyons said by telephone that people were a little nervous but not panicking.

“It’s all people are talking about but they’re not super-nervous at the moment,” he said. “People are steadily coming in like any usual day.”

Forecasts call for rain to taper off Thursday, but a new round of storms is expected to bring an inch or more of precipitation Sunday.

Northwest Wisconsin enjoyed a bit of a reprieve, as early forecasts of 12 inches of snow appear to have been overstated. The snowstorm, which was moving east from Minnesota, took a northward turn Thursday, National Weather Service meteorologist Bill Borghoff said.

He said an ice storm warning was in effect from La Crosse to Eau Claire on Thursday, although the ice wasn’t expected to stay around for long as temperatures warmed to just above freezing. He said Sunday’s storms shouldn’t create as much of a problem because the ground will be warmer and able to absorb moisture.

“It doesn’t look like spring is going to arrive any time soon, for at least a week or so,” Borghoff said.

About 1,300 We Energies customers remained without power Thursday morning, mostly in the Appleton and Neenah areas. Another 250 customers of Wisconsin Public Service also had no electricity, with most of them in Oconto County.