A storm barreled across the upper Midwest on Wednesday, unleashing up to 16 inches of heavy wet snow and closing schools in northern Wisconsin, while a cold front whisked Arctic air into the nation's midsection.
"The roads are still snow-covered and slippery," said Highway Commissioner Robert Massoglia in Iron County, Wis. "The radio said there was officially eight inches of snow, but I think they were about eight inches off. I don't know what they were using, but we've got people telling us there are 16 inches in spots. I think I'd have to agree with them."
School Schedules Disrupted
Schools in the northern Wisconsin town of Hurley--directly in the Lake Superior snow belt--were closed for the day, and several others started classes late. Massoglia said road crews spent most of the night and morning clearing the streets.
"We were out last night, some until 1 a.m., and then back out at 4 this morning," he said. "It's a wet snow, and we've got snow coming down now, too."
In Michigan's Upper Peninsula, 16 inches of snow fell in Ironwood by early afternoon. Twelve inches were on the ground before dawn.
"It sure is early to have such a snow," Ironwood Police Capt. Thomas McGrath said. "Usually, we don't have a snow like this until about the middle of November, or the end of November. We're a good month early."
Heavy snow warnings for Ashland and Iron counties of northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan were canceled by early afternoon, and only flurries lingered across the region.
Light snow, meanwhile, dusted Grand Rapids on the lower peninsula and combined with Tuesday's rain to form a layer of slush on the pavement, causing treacherous driving conditions.
A few flurries brushed northern Ohio also before turning to rain.
The precipitation came ahead of an Arctic wave of air, sometimes referred to as an Alberta Clipper because of its airflow pattern from Canada, that pushed into the north-central part of the country.
The cold front produced winter-like temperatures across the plains and Mississippi Valley, with predawn readings in the teens and 20s. Freezing temperatures were reported as far south as Oklahoma.