A four-day stretch of unusually warm weather came with a huge price tag for the Upper Peninsula, including the Copper Country. Hurricane force winds buffeted the area, causing power outages in Houghton, Baraga, Ontonagon, and Keweenaw Counties in various locations throughout Thursday. At one point, the figure numbered in the thousands on a cumulative basis. By Friday morning, UPPCO was reporting just 79 outages throughout the area.
UPPCO says the problems were mostly related to fallen trees and limbs coming down on wires. Bootjack Road down to White City and Jacobsville was the first area affected by widespread difficulties. It moved west and north to Calumet and then Ahmeek in the early afternoon. East Hancock saw some issues as well. For a large portion of yesterday, crews were trying to play the outages to a draw. Fixing spots just to see other parts of the grid go down.
Houghton County Deputy Blake Frantti says whiteout conditions are still possible with high winds. Also, downed power lines could be out there yet, especially for those who are checking on cabins and more remote properties.
Temperatures dived from over 50 degrees to the teens in under a 24-hour period. That allowed lake effect snow to kick up. It will take a lot more of the white stuff to repair the lost snow pack. Mont Ripley had hoped to be open by Saturday, but large tracts of its slopes, particularly those exposed to wind and sun, were bare again by Thursday. Construction is winding down on the Portage Lake Lift Bridge, and it will be lowered into position to allow snowmobile crossings soon. Area trails clubs are reporting poor conditions on their networks, and grooming is probably weeks away from restarting.
Lake Superior potentially set records last night. Waves were thought to be possible up to 34 feet in height on the eastern end. Several people gathered at The Breakers to watch nature’s fury in action. The Keweenaw Convention and Visitors Bureau posted the photo below to its Facebook page Thursday afternoon. Waves and froth have nearly submerged the rocky break wall.