National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce


A powerful winter storm lifted from the Central Plains into the Great Lakes region the weekend of February 23-24, 2019. As the system approached on Saturday, a swath of snow spread across the Straits and eastern Upper Michigan, with a wintry mix developing elsewhere across northern Lower that afternoon/evening. Somewhat milder temperatures Saturday night allowed for a changeover to rain for some areas through Sunday morning. All this rain and freezing rain turned snow-packed driveways and back roads into sheets of ice, while other areas dealt with large areas of standing water on roads that turned to ice from a flash freeze.

The system intensified rapidly as it approached northern Michigan on Sunday, producing high winds of 50 to 60+ mph, plummeting temperatures, and blizzard conditions across the region as it departed into eastern Canada. Whiteouts and significant drifting snow posed a high impact to travel across much of northern Michigan from Sunday afternoon through Sunday night. Many major roads were closed (including portions of I-75, US-131, US-2, and the Mackinac Bridge), as plows were no match for the high winds and resultant drifting which lead to numerous accidents, slide-offs, and stranded vehicles.

While the storm was not notable for the amount of snowfall it brought to northern Michigan, the strength and duration of its strong winds were impressive from the standpoint of its prolonged, widespread blizzard conditions. 

Radar loop of the February 23-24, 2019 winter storm/blizzard
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