Fifty (50!) Inches of Snow Reported in This Wisconsin Town
Over 28 percent of the U.S. was covered in snow on Friday morning, according to the National Weather Service’s national snow analysis, the most on this date in 12 years.
But nobody in the lower 48 has received more snow than the tiny village of Gile, Wisconsin where, according to the National Weather Service in Duluth, Minnesota, an astonishing 50.1″ of snow has piled up since Monday.
According to one local resident (quote via the St. Paul Pioneer Press), the snowstorm is “about the most we’ve had at one time”.
Located along the Michigan border in far northern Wisconsin and about 15 miles inland from Lake Superior, Gile is located in a traditionally favored snow belt. Nearby hills allow the small town to essentially “squeeze” available moisture out of the atmosphere and dumping it straight on the tiny hamlet, which is actually a part of the town of Montreal (pop. 807), and 20-inch snowstorms are not uncommon for the town.
But 50 inches? “This is like three normal snowstorms for us,” Gile resident Peg Sutherland told the Pioneer Press.
So what led to this highly-localized ‘snowpocalypse’? Monday’s initial burst of snow brought big snows to much of the upper Midwest, but it also left behind a shift in the wind out of the northwest, also leading to a combination of Arctic air and a specific wind direction that led to a concentration of heavy snow right on the Gile area. The wind direction has stayed consistent over the last few days, meaning Gile and much of northern Wisconsin and the upper peninsula of Michigan have been slammed with heavy snow.
Lake-effect snow is noted for extreme but highly-localized snow totals. For example, on Friday, Shaker Heights, Ohio (just east of Cleveland) had received 10″ of snow, while Parma, Ohio – just 10 miles west of Shaker Heights and in the same county – had 4.4″ over almost the exact same time frame. Such sharp discrepancies are common with lake effect snow, where cold winds blowing over warmer waters evaporate the moisture, eventually condensing out as snow.
After a break this weekend (finally!), Gile could be staring at more snow at the start of next week, with snow showers likely for Monday.
Meteorologist Chris Bianchi