Unusual storm hits MQT

Northern+Michigan+students+had+the+day+off+from+school+Monday+and+Tuesday+thanks+to+an+April+snow+shower.++The+unusual+precipitation+covered+Marquette+in+15.8+inches+of+snow.+Photo+by%3A+Kat+Torreano

Northern Michigan students had the day off from school Monday and Tuesday thanks to an April snow shower. The unusual precipitation covered Marquette in 15.8 inches of snow. Photo by: Kat Torreano

Winter Keefer

NMU’s back-to-back Monday and Tuesday snow days were the latest winter semester weather related cancellations since April 11 of 2014, according to Chief Marketing Officer Derek Hall.

From Sunday into Monday, Marquette was blanketed with 15.8 inches of snowfall within a span of 24 hours, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Marquette Brett Borchardt said. The total snowfall in the City of Marquette for the duration of the two- day long storm was 18.6 inches.
“It’s not necessarily uncommon to have winter storms in April,” Borchardt said. “This one was just already memorable based off how long it lasted and how fast the snow came down.”

This snowstorm had the second heaviest recorded 24-hour April snowfall in Marquette County. The heaviest was recorded on April 4, 2007 at 24 total inches.

Borchardt said the snowstorm was the second part of a two-part storm. The first wave missed most of the U.P., hitting the Green Bay area with up to 18 inches of snow. The second wave hit later in the weekend, dropping 10 to 15 inches across the U.P., with higher totals in the region of Marquette County.

“The lake effect and actual snow that came in Sunday—there were two distinct waves even within that,” Borchardt said. “Overall I’ll say that the storm generally went as we expected with the higher snow totals especially within higher terrain of the Marquette and Alger counties.”

Borchardt said he has no projections for significant snowstorms in the near future.

NMU has 56 parking lots with 6,875 spaces, 3.6 miles of roadways and 13.9 miles of sidewalks to plow after a snowstorm.

Supervisor of the NMU grounds departments, Andy Smith said once snowfall stops, his team in charge of campus snow removal can plow enough of the campus to make travel manageable and ensure the school can remain open. To get campus back to normal usually takes about 24 hours.

“We’re used to getting heavy snow like this,” Smith said. “I think what really did us in was the two days of it.”

From Sunday evening to the end of the storm, Smith said eight of his staff each worked about 28 hours. The relatively high temperatures made snow removal more difficult due to the weight of the snow, he added.

“It’s light and fluffy in January and this stuff was relatively heavy.”
Smith said his department’s goal is to maintain NMU parking lots so they are cleaner than anywhere else in Marquette County.

“I couldn’t be prouder of my staff,” Smith said.