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Blizzard conditions, and arctic air

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Blizzard conditions, and arctic air top the list of Michigan weather events on this day in history. From the National Weather Service archives here are the events that happened on February 18.

1926 - A snowstorm drops 5 to 9 inches of snow across southern Lower Michigan. Lansing sets a record snow total for the day of 8.5 inches. Grand Rapids also sets a record with 7.0 inches.

1936 – Arctic air invades Lower Michigan with temperatures tumbling to set record lows for the date. Grand Rapids dips to a record -10°, Muskegon -8°, Detroit -9°, and Flint -11°. Menominee had a low temperature of -30°.

1976 - The daytime temperature rose to 62° in Detroit, which is 27 degrees above average!

1996 - A record low temperature of -21° occurred at Weather Forecast Office in Marquette. Alberta had a low temperature of -25°, Bergland Dam had a low of -26° and Champion had a low temperature of -31°.

1997 – The Weather Forecast Office in Marquette had a record high temperature of 52°.

2006 - Low pressure originating over the southern Plains deepened rapidly as it moved into the Great Lakes region on the afternoon and evening of the 16th. Deep moisture associated with this system brought heavy synoptic and lake-enhanced snow to portions of central Upper Michigan on the 16th and 17th. Measured 12-hour snowfall amounts included 6 inches in Gladstone and Cornell in Delta County, 7 inches in Menominee, 7 inches at Cooks in southern Schoolcraft County and 8 inches at Rainbow Lodge in Luce County. 24-hour lake-enhanced snowfall amounts included 16.7 inches at the National Weather Service in Marquette, 13 inches south of Grand Marais in Alger County and 10 inches at Seney in northern Schoolcraft County. A blast of arctic air behind the departing low brought another round of briefly heavy lake effect snow and near-blizzard to blizzard conditions to western Upper Michigan on the 17th and 18th. Snowfall amounts generally ranged from 3 to 6 inches across much of Ontonagon, Houghton and Keweenaw counties while wind gusts of 30 mph or more lowered visibilities to one-half mile or less. Frequent wind gusts to 35 mph or more and visibilities below one-quarter mile lead to blizzard conditions over the Keweenaw Peninsula during the afternoon hours. Wind chill values also fell to 35 to 45 below zero at the automated observing sites at Ironwood, Iron Mountain and Escanaba on the evening of the 17th and morning of the 18th. Across the rest of west and central Upper Michigan wind chill readings commonly fell into the 25 to 35 below zero range.

2009 - A storm system originating over the Central Plains tracked through Lake Huron bringing heavy snow and blowing snow to much of north central and eastern Upper Michigan from Feb 17-20. North wind gusts of 45 to 50 mph behind the storm caused blizzard conditions for some locations along Lake Superior. A trained spotter near Au Train estimated ten inches of snow at his house with visibility less than 150 feet in the evening hours. Observers measured 12-hour snow amounts of 5 to 6 inches over the east and northeast portion of Delta County on the morning of the 18th. The observer in Norway measured 4.6 inches in 12 hours. Although snow amounts diminished during the day on the 18th, northwest winds continued to gust frequently over 25 mph resulting in considerable blowing and drifting of snow. Schools throughout Delta County were closed on the 19th. National Weather Service employees measured eight to nine inches of wet snow in Marquette during a 15-hour period. Snowfall rates exceeded an inch per hour on the evening of the 18th. Schools throughout much of Marquette County were closed on the 19th due to the heavy snowfall.

2011 - Strong west winds in the wake of a powerful cold front resulted in downed trees and power lines over portions of west and north central Upper Michigan. Lake effect snow and extreme blowing snow also resulted in blizzard conditions over the Keweenaw Peninsula. Strong winds caused trees to fall on power lines resulting in power outages to approximately 2,000 customers in Marquette County. $10,000 worth of property damage occurred as well. Though snow accumulations in Chippewa County were only 2 to 3 inches during the night of the 18th, winds gusted to 50 mph in many places, peaking at 61 mph near Bay Mills. The combination of wind and snow produced near-blizzard conditions in Chippewa County. Wind gusts estimated to be over 60 mph caused downed trees and sporadic power outages, mainly for communities along the Lake Superior shoreline.

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