Marquette authors capture Michigan’s extremes — from hot to (mostly) cold

Kali Katerberg/Daily Mining Gazette Karl Bohnak (left) and Jack Deo (right) pose with their new book “Sunburns to Snowstorms” highlighting Michigan weather and history.

HOUGHTON — Retelling the drama of wild Great Lakes weather is a favorite Michigan pastime, and two Upper Peninsula authors have teamed up to capture it.

Karl Bohnak is the long-time chief meteorologist at WLUC-TV6 in Marquette, and Jack Deo is a Marquette-based photographer. The two gave a presentation at the Portage Lake District Library on Thursday to showcase Michigan’s extreme weather and the people who braved blizzards with hand shovels.

The presentation was followed by a book signing where the new “Sunburns to Snowstorms” sold quickly.

The book includes almost 300 photos of local disasters and wild weather. Many photos were greeted with gasps of awe and surprise from the audience.

“Look at the damage. The power of the lakes,” Deo said.

The authors admit there is more to see for snowstorms than sunburns. Trapped ships, iced-over buildings, towering snow mounds and freezing spray coating both buildings and boats in a frosty shell capture the drama of a wild winter.

Ice coating typically occurs when the lake doesn’t freeze and frigid water continues to splash nearby structures, Bohnak explained.

“This keeps people from moving here,” Deo joked. “I sell a lot of these (photos) to people in Florida. They like to cool off.”

A crowd favorite was: “The storm against all others are measured, the storm of 1939. You might have heard about this one,” Bohnak said. “There wasn’t a huge amount of snow in the Copper Country. However, the wind was so strong it obviously blew into drifts up to 20 feet.”

The two said the Copper Country is known as the “worst of them all for winter storms.”

Fortunately, it’s no longer necessary to move that snow with horses and shovels, as in earlier times.