Residents of the far western U.P. have a message for Detroiters complaining about a little recent ice: Can we borrow your snow shovel?
Menominee, a U.P. city on the Wisconsin border, got dumped with more than 2 feet of snow over the weekend — the most snowfall in a single storm ever recorded in the city. That's right, the record snowfall, according to records going back to 1919, isn't from December, or January, but a mid-April anomaly.
"It’s not uncommon to get these big spring storms. This one in particular was just slow-moving," said Brett Borchardt, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Marquette.
It was the same storm that led to snow across northern and mid-Michigan, and icy rain in southeast Michigan, Borchardt said. It was powerful enough to draw in moisture all the way from the Gulf of Mexico — and over Menominee, that moisture turned to snow, and lots of it.
"Conditions were such that they caused a heavy band of snow to stay parked over them," he said. "They were parked under that the whole time."
A photo taken at the Greater Marinette-Menominee YMCA Monday, showing three members standing in a cleared doorway between walls of snow towering well above their heads, went viral on Facebook Monday.
"I’ve lived here my whole life, and I’m 60. I remember getting snow in April as a kid, but nothing like this has dumped on us," said YMCA executive director Terri Falkenberg.
All of the snowdrift seen in the photo, taken by YMCA employee Allyson Bickel, is from the weekend storm — the ground had been bare grass prior to it, Falkenberg said.
YMCA employee John Lauzer and a colleague had cleared the walkway and parking lot on Saturday, from snowfall that had started Friday afternoon, he said.
The facility was closed over the weekend because of the weather, bringing Lauzer and Jack Plautz back to the facility to clear snow again Monday morning.
"We were pretty amazed, coming around the corner to see that," Lauzer said. "We’ve encountered 3 to 4 foot drifts, but never 10 feet."
The entryway took four hours to clear, Lauzer said. Their snowblower couldn't throw the snow high enough to clear the banks, so Plautz positioned the snowblower to where it threw the snow away from the walkway, while Lauzer scaled the banks and shoveled snow down to it, Lauzer said.
"It's amazing ... it looks like a tunnel," he said.
Like pretty much all of Michigan, this winter-like April is also wreaking havoc in the far western U.P.
"I’m a baseball coach up here, and my baseball team has not gone outside once," Lauzer said. "We’ve already lost seven games."
Contact Keith Matheny: (313) 222-5021 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @keithmatheny.
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