Keeping up with the Keweenaw County snowfall

KEWEENAW COUNTY, Mich. (WLUC) - Driving along US-41, high snow banks make it almost impossible to see even the front door to some houses. For any non-Yooper, this would be a shocking site to see, but for the Keweenaw County Road Commission, it’s the norm.

"We don’t consider it that crazy. It’s slightly above average right now," said engineer manager, Gregg Patrick.

Yes, you read that right. This winter's 286 inches of snowfall is considered above the average 260 inches.

"We just have been keeping up with it."

To show just how much Keweenaw County is known for their high snowfall, they even have a giant snow gauge. It stands just over 390.4 inches, the record high of snowfall for the winter of 1978. Each year they update it with the winter’s snow total.

"Tourists and people traveling throughout the Keweenaw can see it and just get a grasp on how much snow we actually had," said Chris Cronenworth, the road commission's foreman.

Although the road commission isn’t surprised at this year’s snowfall, the past several weeks have kept them on their toes.

"We have had 12 feet of snow in the last seven weeks and there has been no settling or melting in between, so it’s piled up fast," said Patrick.

Some snow banks are as high as 12 feet across the county, but Cronenworth says the average height is 5 feet.

"It’s mostly been system snow, we haven’t had the lake effect snow like normal, so that alludes to the reason why the snowbanks look so high. The system snow just doesn’t settle the same as lake effect," explained Cronenworth.

To measure system or lake effect snow, the road commission has set up a measuring stick, snow table and box just outside of Mohawk, to get the most accurate readings of snowfall.

"We are at a higher elevation, so we do typically see a lot more snow here than most places in the county, it’s very accessible for us to get out here and it’s a good setting for the snow table and the measuring is somewhat protected from the wind," said Cronenworth.

Cronenworth will measure the snow left on the table and inside the box, check the measuring stick once a day in the morning, and record the numbers back at the office.

"The measurements can be somewhat different depending on the type of snow it is, but overall, an inch is an inch."

You can keep track of the Keweenaw’s daily and total snowfall by clicking here.

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