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Area shivers through second-coldest January

February 19, 2009
By JIM ANDERSON, News Editor

IRON MOUNTAIN - It's been colder, but not much.

The mid-November 2008 through January 2009 period was the second-coldest on record at Iron Mountain-Kingsford, the National Weather Service said.

The average temperature from Nov. 15 through Jan. 31 was 12.3 degrees, said Kevin Crupi, weather service meteorologist. It was colder only in 1976-77, when the average temperature over the same span was 10.7 degrees.

Article Photos

Bitter wind blows as Mark Vaher of Rockford, Ill., walks on Carpenter Avenue in Iron Mountain this morning. The overnight low was 3 degrees.
Theresa Peterson/Daily News Photo

Last month was also the second-coldest January on record, Crupi noted.

The average temperature at Iron Mountain-Kingsford was 5.3 degrees, which was 7.1 degrees below normal. It tied 1977 as the second-coldest January. The coldest was 1994, when the average temperature was 3 degrees.

"For the second month in a row, sustained Arctic cold held Upper Michigan firmly in its grip, as a persistent upper trough remained in place across eastern Canada and the Great Lakes," Crupi said.

Fact Box

Cold January

- 5.3 degrees,

average temperature

- Iron River coldest

spot in U.P.

- 34 below in


December's average temperature of 12.8 degrees was 6 degrees below normal.

Statistics for the Iron Mountain-Kingsford

Wastewater Treatment Plant cooperative observer site are based on records that began in March 1931. Normals used are for the period 1971 through 2000.

The January mean temperature at Iron River was a bone-chilling 0.7 degrees, making it the coldest spot in the Upper Peninsula.

"Stambaugh reported the lowest January temperature of 34 below on Jan. 26, then came back with a 33-below (reading) on Jan. 27," Crupi said. The low temperature at the Stambaugh reporting station was minus 20 or lower on eight days during January, he added.

At Iron Mountain-Kingsford, the lowest temperature for the month was minus 24 on Jan. 26. The temperature never rose above freezing in January, peaking at 28 degrees Jan. 4.

January snowfall at Iron Mountain-Kingsford totaled 11.8 inches, which was 5 inches below normal. Water-equivalent precipitation measured just 0.66 inches, which was 0.79 inches below normal.

The January precipitation deficit pushed the July through January shortfall to more than 9 inches, the third-driest such period on record. Water- equivalent precipitation over those six months totaled 9.63 inches, which was 9.08 inches below normal.

"Since June 2008, precipitation at Iron Mountain-Kingsford has been below normal every month except for December," Crupi said.

Since mid-October, the U.S. Drought Monitor has indicated severe drought in Dickinson and Menominee counties, as well as Florence, Forest and Marinette counties in Wisconsin.

Areas away from Lake Superior tended to be much drier than normal in January, Crupi said.

"Since a northwest flow of Arctic air prevailed, most of the moisture laden storm systems developing in the Plains were forced south of Upper Michigan," he explained.

Some other temperature and precipitation observations across the Upper Peninsula in January:

- Ironwood, average temperature 4.5 degrees, snowfall 49.6 inches.

- Marquette, average temperature 12.9 degrees, snowfall 26.9 inches.

- Munising, average temperature 11.7 degrees, snowfall 51.3 inches.

- Newberry, average temperature 12.2 degrees, snowfall 40.1 inches.

- Bark River, average temperature 9.2 degrees, snowfall 14.6 inches.

- Manistique, average temperature 11.1 degrees, snowfall 18.2 inches.

Jim Anderson's e-mail address is



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