You may have noticed that the leaves are really beginning to show color in the woods all across Upper Michigan. The changing leaves are what we expect at this time of the year, but there are times– though quite rare– where a sprinkling of snow covers those changing leaves.
The earliest mention of September snow was made by state surveyor William Austin Burt. In September of 1844, he and his team were surveying the area around present-day Negaunee. After the discovered iron ore on a sunny Sept. 19, the weather went downhill. Burt recorded in his journal on Sept. 21, “Snow fell in the forepart of the day three to six inches deep.”
Since the pioneer days, there’s been occasional September snowfalls. Going back to 1962, the National Weather Service site near Negaunee has had six instances of measurable snow, a tenth of an inch or more, during the month. The snowfall of 1.4″ on Sept. 22, 1974 was a mere dusting compared to the City of Marquette. An incredible 5.1″ fell overnight into the morning of Sept. 21-22, 1974!
Houghton’s heaviest September snowfall is 6.5″ on Sept. 26, 1942. Munising had 4″ during that same event. Iron Mountain’s only measurable September snow was 1.5″ on Sept. 26, 1965, while Manistique picked up 1.2″.
You may have noticed that all these measurable snows occurred late in the month. There is one glaring exception to this fact: Marquette had about a quarter-inch of snow on Sept. 1, 1859.
Snowfall is unlikely this September. It looks warm the rest of this week, and NOAA’s extended outlook into the beginning of October shows a very good chance of above-average temperatures.