HOUGHTON - The big winter storm which hit much of the Midwest, and even some of the Upper Peninsula, Thursday and Friday mostly missed the Copper Country, and the forecast for the weekend and next week is for moderate conditions.
Jon Banitt, meteorologist with the National Weather Service Negaunee Township office, said the system, which dropped more than a foot of snow in some areas of the Midwest, caused cancellations of flights and led to some deaths, began in the central Rockies, and was most powerful in the Plains states.
"The heaviest band (of snow) was in Nebraska through Iowa," Banitt said.
In the U.P., Banitt said there was no consistency of snowfall totals.
"It varied dramatically," he said.
While the Hancock/Houghton area received 1 to 2 inches, Banitt said other areas of the U.P. had 6, 7 or 8 inches to as much as 16 inches.
Banitt said terrain, elevation and nearness to Lake Superior affected snowfall totals. Although much of the snow during the winter on Keweenaw Peninsula is usually lake effect caused by cold air passing over the relatively warmer lake, this time the lake actually lead to lighter snowfall because the air from the storm was relatively warm.
"It had the effect of cutting down on the snow," he said.
Locally, there were few traffic accidents caused by the storm, and no reported injuries. According to the Baraga County Sheriff's Office, there were three weather-related accidents; in Houghton County, the sheriff's office reported three vehicles in ditches; there were no reported accidents in Keweenaw County; and in Ontonagon County, there were two accidents caused by slushy road surfaces.
In the U.P., Banitt said the heaviest snowfall was to the south and east of the Houghton County. From 8 to 12 inches fell in the eastern U.P. Marquette, near Lake Superior, had 1 to 2 inches, while the west side of the city had 6 to 12 inches, and in Negaunee Township at the NWS office, 16 inches were recorded.
The system which brought the recent storm is now centered over southwest Ontario, Canada, and Buffalo, N.Y., and it should be finished sometime today.
"It's pulling off to the east," he said.
Banitt said temperatures for today and into next week locally are expected to be seasonable, with highs in the 20s and lows in the teens. There is a weak cold front, which should arrive late tonight or early tomorrow, but any snowfall will only be a dusting.
"It's probably not going to be a big deal," he said.
There are neither any warm-ups predicted in the near future or any big storm systems developing, Banitt said.