EagleHerald/Rick Gebhard
Dave Rickaby installs a new sweeper brush on the street sweeper Tuesday at Marinette Public Works garage. Public works crews aim to clear leaves before the arrival of significant snow this winter to ease the job when spring breaks.
EagleHerald/Rick Gebhard
Dave Rickaby installs a new sweeper brush on the street sweeper Tuesday at Marinette Public Works garage. Public works crews aim to clear leaves before the arrival of significant snow this winter to ease the job when spring breaks.

MARINETTE — Traveling for Thanksgiving? 

Depending on the destination, and how the upcoming weather patterns play out, one might do good to reconsider the holiday itinerary, particularly if the travel plans reside north and west of the City of Marinette. At the very least, area weather, emergency management and law enforcement officials recommend traveling with precaution and preparedness leading up to Thanksgiving Day. 

Officially, the first day of winter still looms a few weeks out, arriving Dec. 21. However, depending on storm tracking, parts of northwestern Marinette County and northern Wisconsin may experience significant accumulations of 6 to 12 inches in some places.  

As of Tuesday night, according to the National Weather Service (NWS) out of Green Bay, the City of Marinette forecast predicts only rain and possible high winds, with less than one inch of snow accumulation by the time it ends this evening. 

However, Marinette County officials remain cautious, their eyes and ears monitoring forecast updates as well as the weather actually occurring outside their windows. 

“This storm is very iffy on the tracking,” said Marinette County Emergency Management Coordinator Kathy Frank, adding that the pre-holiday timing of the storm fuels most of her concerns for Wisconsin and out-of-state motorists traveling in its path.

NARROW SNOWFALL GRADIENTS

The worst of the approaching winter storm aims to track farther north and west of the City of Marinette, according to meteorologist Scott Berschback with the NWS in Green Bay. The City of Marinette should see a majority of precipitation hitting the ground as rain.

Nevertheless, as with all weather patterns, pinpointing the precise impact areas often comes down to computer algorithms and probabilities with inherent margins of error.  

According to Berschback, the storm system will vary across Marinette County. In the City of Marinette and other areas near the Bay of Green Bay, the all-rain event was forecast to begin Tuesday evening and last into this afternoon or evening.  

Today, rain should continue through the morning hours within the city and then shift to a mix of snow and rain later this afternoon. However, Berschback expects only slight snow accumulation in the City of Marinette.  

On the other hand, northern parts of Marinette County could bear the impact of substantial snowfall. 

“There will be a tight snowfall gradient in the northern part of the county,” Berschback said. 

He explained that a tight gradient means the rate and accumulation of snowfall could vary over relatively short distances. Areas of Marinette County closer to Florence and Forest counties may encounter snow depths of more than 8 inches when day breaks on Thanksgiving morning.      

MORE THAN JUST SNOW

Although, the City of Marinette may dodge the heavy white stuff, Berschback said that gale warnings issued by the NWS for the Bay of Green Bay and Lake Michigan may lead to flooding along the shore as wind and high waves pummel the lakefront areas. The flooding could occur in areas still drying out after heavy rainfall early this spring and summer. 

“Tuesday night and (today), gales of up to 40 knots (about 45 mph) will also impact land areas,” Berschback said. “High winds out of the east and northeast, will bring a flooding factor for western shore areas.”

He explained that the NWS classifies gale-force winds as anything over 35 knots (about 40 mph). He pointed out that areas around the Village of Suamico and up near the City of Marinette may see some isolated flooding along the shore where that type of flooding generally occurs.

“This is pretty rare to have a (gale) storm warning out over the open waters (of Lake Michigan),” Berschback said. “We usually have only one or two of those each year.” 

He emphasized that any crews aboard water going vessels should take extreme precaution if underway in the Bay of Green Bay or on Lake Michigan because the high winds will create hazardous conditions.  

While the high temperature is expected to near 40 degrees today and Berschback expects no freezing rain, falling temperatures later this evening may lead to overnight freezing of standing water, creating some isolated ice hazards in the city. 

Finally, the forecast shows a quiet weather day Thanksgiving with highs in the mid-30s and less wind. So come Thursday, whether one is digging out in northern Marinette County or drying off in the City of Marinette, a hearty serving of turkey and stuffing followed by a slice of warm pumpkin pie should help ease any lingering weather qualms.