May11, 2006: Stem Winder!

Published: May. 11, 2016 at 4:48 PM EDT
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A major storm struck Upper Michigan 10 years ago today. Low pressure moved northeastward out of the Lower Mississippi Valley and deepened just to the east of us. It was about as miserable a day as one could experience in the central U.P. with strong winds and a cold, steady rain that turned to sleet later in the day.

Rainfall amounts were excessive. Big Bay reported 7 inches, while the City of Marquette was inundated with around 5 inches. Some road wash-outs occurred, but with dry conditions preceding the storm, there was no serious flooding.

Out west, the path of the low brought in just enough cold air for heavy, wet snow. Reports of from 7 to 12 inches came out of the Gogebic Range in the Ironwood-Bessemer area, with progressively lighter amounts to the east.

Wind was another problem. Frequent gusts over 40 miles-per-hour buffeted a good share of the Peninsula all day. Escanaba recorded a 68 mile-per-hour peak gust. The wind led to huge waves on Lake Superior that led to tragedy. Two Marquette men were viewing the waves from the Black Rocks on Presque Isle in the city when a rogue wave said to be nearly 30-feet high swept them into the turbulent water. One man was rescued, but another was swept away. His body was recovered over a month later.

After this event, a dry summer followed. In fact this storm was the last widespread heavy precipitation event for Upper Michigan until the snowstorms of late February and early March 2007.