Drought eases, normal weather patterns are predicted for May


News Editor

IRON MOUNTAIN – Drought conditions have eased in the Dickinson County area, thanks to generous precipitation in March and April.

A small portion of southern Iron and Dickinson counties and most of Florence County and northern Forest County remain abnormally dry, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Elsewhere, drought is absent across the entire Upper Peninsula and eastern Wisconsin.

In the wake of a cool and wet April, the long-range forecast calls for normal temperature and precipitation patterns to return in May, said Kevin Crupi, weather service meteorologist at Marquette.

March 2013 ranked among the top 10 snowiest third months in a swath from Negaunee to Munising and Newberry, Crupi said.

At Iron Mountain-Kingsford, water-equivalent precipitation in March measured 1.88 inches, which was 0.23 inches above normal. Snowfall totaled 13 inches, which was 2.4 inches above normal.

The average temperature in March at Iron Mountain-Kingsford was 23.6 degrees, which was 4.3 degrees below normal. The highest temperature was 51 degrees on March 29 and the lowest was minus 6 on March 3.

“What made March 2013 seem so harsh was the stark difference between the weather this year and in 2012,” Crupi said. “Record warmth dominated Upper Michigan in March a year ago, with numerous record high daily and monthly mean temperatures falling by the wayside, including the earliest occurrence of 80-degree temperatures at some places.”

A west-to-east Pacific air flow dominated in 2012, but this year polar air masses funneled into the region, Crupi said. At Iron Mountain-Kingsford, there were record daily snowfalls on both March 11 (3.7 inches) and March 30 (4 inches).

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.

For summer, the Climate Prediction Center forecasts a greater than climatological chance of above normal three-month average temperatures over the southeast half of Upper Michigan from June through August, but normal temperatures in the northwest half. Normal precipitation patterns are expected over the same period.

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

– Ironwood, average temperature 19.8 degrees (5.3 degrees below normal), snowfall 31 inches (6.1 inches above normal).

– Baraga, average temperature 21.3 degrees, snowfall 29 inches.

– Marquette, average temperature 26 degrees (3 degrees below normal), snowfall 17.3 inches (4.4 inches below normal).

– Munising, average temperature 25.6 (2.1 degrees below normal), snowfall 33.4 inches (14.6 inches above normal).

– Newberry, average temperature 25.6 (1.2 degrees below normal), snowfall 29.6 inches (11.7 inches above normal)

– Iron River, average temperature 17.5 degrees, snowfall 12.7 inches.

– Garden Corners, average temperature 24 degrees, snowfall 11.7 inches.

– Manistique, average temperature 25.2 degrees (1.9 degrees below normal), snowfall 7.2 inches (3.6 inches below normal).

Jim Anderson’s email address is