Back to “Normal”

So pretty boring week, so I guess this will about cover it. 🙂

Unless you were living under a rock, you know that the weather up here has been anything but boring! In the past 8 days, our weather has given us 80 degree temps, 75mph+ winds, 29 foot waves on the big lake and 8″ of snow and sub freezing temps. Not all in one day, but still not bad for a weeks worth of weather!

I have to say that as beautiful as the warm temps and sunshine were, it was kind of nice to get back to weather that is more like we should have this time of the year. While it may not be an every year occurrence to have winds of 75mph+ or over a half of a foot of snow in one storm, autumn storms are pretty much the norm for us this time of the year. This past one just happened to have a bit more kick to it!

The week started innocent enough, with temps topping out around 60 on Monday and dry weather. It did not take long for things to get interesting Tuesday. In fact, areas off to the east of us called off school for Tuesday because of the high winds that had developed in the wee morning hours and were forecasted to continue through the day. Our winds were not too bad early Tuesday morning, but by around 6:30-7 am, they picked up considerably and at around 7:30 the power went out for most areas north of Calumet. I had some errands to do in Houghton Tuesday morning and with the generator providing power to our house, I did not see any reason to have to stick around. As I headed south on the highway towards Houghton and Hancock, I passed 11 electric company vehicles headed north to get power restored. I am not sure if it was one single, large issue that knocked out power, or a multitude of issues, but by the time I got back home around noon, the power had been restored. Despite winds actually increasing in intensity while I was out, and a pouring rain. This area seems to be a bit more prone to power outages, even with the aggressive tree trimming they do in the warm season, but I have always been ultra impressed with how hard the folks work and the conditions they will work in, to get the electricity back and flowing to where it is out and needed.

My afternoon on Tuesday was about as full of things that had to be done as my morning, so I was not able to get out and take pictures of the dance the big lake was having with the winds, but many up here did and posted pictures on the internet. So I have done something that I try to avoid at all costs, using pictures take by others without their permission. So if you see one of your own pictures in this entry and do not want me using it/them, please let me know and I will be more than happy to remove them. However, the ones I am using are so interesting, that I really could not resist sharing them with you all.

The big lake is at near record high levels right now, so that added to the dramatics along the north and west facing shores of of the big lake this week. In Marquette, a person was swept off the rocks and into the water and was fortunate enough to be able to get out with the help of his girlfriend. Two others are suspected of being washed off as well and were not as fortunate, as they have been missing since going to that spot along the lake shore and their vehicle remained there long after the storm subsided.

Here in the Keweenaw, no one was swept away by the waves, but the combination of high lake levels and strong winds caused the lake to climb over her banks and flood sections of highway 26 between Eagle River and Copper Harbor. Lake Superior is big enough to actually experience storm surge when a big blow is going on. Proof of that can be seen in this shot of the lake spilling over the highway in Cat Harbor. Proof that it was storm surge and not wave action that caused that flooding is proven by the fact that Cat Harbor is actually well protected by a rock outcropping around 1/4 mile from shore. That is why there were only small waves seen in that last picture, as they only had around 1/4 mile in which to grow. I am very familiar with this spot along the lake and while I do not have actual measurements of how high above the water line the roadway is, I would have to venture to guess around 4-6 feet. So that storm surge was 4-6 feet+!

Another interesting shot I came across was taken south of the lift bridge and along the shores of the big lake northwest of Twin Lakes where the Misery River dumps into the lake at Misery Bay. Only with the strong winds, the river was not flowing into the lake, the lake was flowing upstream into the river! The wave action did cause some erosion. McLain state park north of Hancock has been dealing with some erosion all summer, due to wave action and the high lake levels. Those problems were only worsened on Tuesday. The last photo I have is reportedly from Tuesday’s storm and was supposedly taken around the Marquette area. I am not too familiar with the shoreline there, so I cannot verify if it was actually taken during the storm on Tuesday, but it is impressive none the less.

Some stats from the storm included a 77 mph wind gust on Stannard Rock north-northwest of Big Bay, a 71 mph wind at the buoy 10 miles NNE of Marquette and a wave of 28.9 feet at the buoy in Munising Bay at 9:30 am Tuesday. I also came across a great video shot by a man named Nick Jensen. I do not know Nick and did not ask for permission to post this link, so if you know him and want to alert him to the fact that I am sharing his video, feel free and he can ask me to remove it if he wants. Anyway, enjoy this video, it is awesome!

For as brutal as the weather was on Tuesday, it was equally tranquil on Wednesday, so Nora, Gracie, the pups and I took to our woods to survey the damage. It did not take long to come across the first victim of the winds the day before. We came across around another half dozen trees blown down, but none of them were big ones, which was kind of surprising. Old Grandad, Big Piney and the Maple Twins all made it unscathed as did one of Gracie’s favorite climbers. We even came across a fresh buck scrape, the sign that the rut is here and we have at least one fella roaming our woods! It was so tranquil and beautiful in the woods Wednesday evening, a perfect autumn evening in the Northwoods of the UP. Sure am glad Nora came up with the idea!

Thursday started out in pretty quiet fashion and then by the afternoon, we had some light rain and sprinkles develop. Those morphed into a downpour later Thursday night that kept up into Friday morning. By around midday, the raindrops began to look a little slushy and it was not long after that when the slush flakes turned into beautiful, but wet, snowflakes! By later in the afternoon, the temps had cooled enough to allow the snow to start to accumulate. It felt really good to be looking out at snow falling again, even looking up and watching the big, silver dollar sized, flakes fall to the ground. So much nicer than rain!

The snow had started to accumulate Calumet a bit sooner and when I drove down there in the late afternoon, the ground was already white with around 2″ of snow. Gracie had skating practice after school, so we did not get home until around 5:45, but there was still enough light in the sky and snow on the ground to allow her to get out and build the seasons first snowman.

The snows kept up all night and we ended up with around 2 1/2 to 3″ of accumulation here, but just down the road a bit, Calumet picked up 8″ of super wet and heavy snow. The snow ended up causing some damage to trees that were able to survive the big blow a few days earlier. Thankfully most trees had lost their leaves by the time the snow flew Friday, or there would have been a lot more damage and probably more power outages to deal with.

Most of the snow that fell Friday and Saturday is still hanging around and we look to get a bit more in the next day or two. So it looks like it will be another white Halloween, which is getting to be more of a tradition than oddity lately. While Nora visited with a friend this afternoon, Grace, the pups and I took to the woods for a little walk. Some rather large and deep puddles kept us from taking the usual paths, but we did find some dry, but white areas to romp around in.

So the season first meaningful snowfall is under our belts. The forecast sees temps warming enough to cause it all to melt by the end of the week. That is fine by me. I would still like to be able to get the leaves raked and the grass cut one last time before winter sets in for good. I am not sure if we will be able to pull that off, but it would be welcomed!

The addition is coming along. I continue to chip away at it a little bit at a time. The heat is going and most of the tongue and groove has been put up on the walls. I am hoping to finish the tongue and groove this week, get is stained/painted and then the floors done, so we can move the washer and drier into the new space and get going on transforming the old utility room into our new pantry! After all, it won’t be long before the snows start to stick around for good and I will be busy moving and playing in it!

Good night from the Keweenaw..