2013 ranks as 10th-coldest

By JIM ANDERSON

News Editor

IRON MOUNTAIN – The average temperature in 2013 at Iron Mountain-Kingsford was 40.8 degrees – 1.5 degrees below normal and the 10th-coldest year on record, the National Weather Service said.

Last year’s average reading was 1.5 degrees above the record cold of 39.3 degrees set in 1950, said Kevin Crupi, weather service meteorologist at Marquette.

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

December 2013 was especially cold, Crupi said. The average temperature of 11.2 degrees last month was a chilling 8.2 degrees below normal. It was the eighth-coldest December on record, but comfortably above the record low of 7.1 degrees set in 1989.

“A deep upper trough that dominated central and eastern North America after Dec. 5 delivered a nearly continuous flow of Arctic air into the upper Great Lakes the rest of the month,” Crupi said.

The highest temperature last month was 38 degrees on Dec. 28 and the lowest was minus 15 on Dec. 30. No new daily records were established at Iron Mountain-Kingsford.

Iron River was the coldest spot in the Upper Peninsula in December, with an average temperature of 6.8 degrees.

Although January will likely end up much colder than usual, the long-range forecast calls for normal temperature and precipitation patterns to return for February through April.

A cold front is expected to move in by Monday and persist until Thursday, just in time for a second blast of frigid air to arrive, the weather service said.

Next week’s freeze could be accompanied by some snow, but it would mainly be lake-effect snow, meteorologist Bob McMahon told the Associated Press.

Water-equivalent precipitation at Iron Mountain-Kingsford in 2013 totaled 32.03 inches, which was 2.31 inches above normal. Snowfall for the calendar year totaled 65.5 inches, which was 7.1 inches above normal, but well below the record of 115.4 inches set in 1972.

Currently, the nearest area of drought to Upper Michigan is some 150 miles to the west in Wisconsin, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Snowfall last month totaled 17.4 inches at Iron Mountain-Kingsford, which was 3.5 inches above normal. It was relatively fluffy snow, however, as water-equivalent precipitation measured 1.25 inches, which was 0.3 inches below normal.

The northwest portion of the Upper Peninsula saw nearly continuous lake-effect snow from Dec. 5 through the end of the month, Crupi said. “December snowfall was over 100 Inches at a few places across central Houghton County in the Keweenaw Peninsula,” he said.

Some other temperature and precipitation observations across the Upper Peninsula in December:

– Ironwood, average temperature 7.5 (1.4 degrees below normal), snowfall 31 inches (15.3 inches below normal).

– Ontonagon, average temperature 13.2 (8.4 degrees below normal), snowfall 66.4 inches (12.2 inches above normal).

– Baraga, average temperature 12.9 degrees, snowfall 23.2 inches.

– Big Bay, average temperature 15.5 degrees, snowfall 30.9 inches.

– Marquette, average temperature 16.9 (6.6 degrees below normal), snowfall 23.5 inches (1.8 inches below normal).

– Munising, average temperature 15.0 (7.9 degrees below normal), snowfall 38.5 inches (2.7 inches below normal).

– Newberry, average temperature 12.8 (9.4 degrees below normal), snowfall 42.1 inches (8.8 inches above normal).

– Iron River, average temperature 6.8 degrees, snowfall 17.1 inches.

– Norway, average temperature 9.8 degrees, snowfall 17.7 inches.

– Escanaba, average temperature 15 degrees, snowfall 16.3 inches.

– Garden Corners, average temperature 13.5 degrees, snowfall 22.2 inches.

– Manistique, average temperature 14.2 (9.1 degrees below normal). snowfall 15 inches (4.3 inches below normal).

Jim Anderson’s email address is janderson@ironmountaindailynews.com.