|NWS Weather Forecast Office
112 Airpark Drive South
Negaunee, Michigan 49866
OFFICE LOCATION: WFO Marquette is situated eight miles west of downtown Marquette in the small town of Negaunee. The area is hilly and forested and rises abruptly above the Lake Superior shoreline eight miles to the east increasing in elevation by about 750 feet.
OFFICE PROGRAM: WFO Marquette has one of the most challenging forecast and warning programs in the National Weather Service--public (inland zones as well as an extensive lake influence), marine (Lake Superior open waters and Lake Superior and Lake Michigan nearshore marine forecasts), aviation, fire weather, hydrology, and cooperative observing.
WHAT MAKES US UNIQUE: Lake Superior is the largest fresh water lake in the world and arguably the most beautiful and the most hazardous! It has an awesome influence on our weather, moderating our summer and winter temperatures and bringing as much as 200 inches of lake effect snow to the forecast office. Upper Michigan's record seasonal snowfall is 392 inches! We may not have hurricanes up here, but our infamous "Gales of November" can rival them. National and state forests and campgrounds, hundreds of miles of backpacking trails (including the North Country National Scenic Trail), cross country skiing, snowmobiling, and biking trails, alpine skiing and ski jumping, snowshoeing, the U.S.'s largest natural luge course, 4,000 inland lakes, gentle as well as white water rivers, 12,000 miles of trout streams, 1,700 miles of shoreline along Lakes Superior, Michigan, and Huron, pristine sand beaches and 200-foot sandstone cliffs, 150 major waterfalls (Tahquamenon Falls is famous in Longfellow's "The Song of Hiawatha"), and two nationally recognized birding locations (Seney National Wildlife Refuge and Whitefish Point) make our home a paradise for winter, summer, and water sports. Top this off with Marquette's Northern Michigan University academic, cultural, and athletic programs, the U.S. Olympic Education Center, a symphony orchestra, two marinas, Great Lakes Freighters, a 200-mile sled dog race, and the greatest scenery in the Great Lakes region! We have clean air, clean lakes and streams, and no traffic jams! Our rich heritage includes Native Americans, French-Canadian voyageurs, and English, Finnish, Swedish, Italian, Greek, and Chinese immigrants--lumberjacks, miners, fishermen, sailors, and farmers. Our forecast area includes 50-mile long Isle Royale National Park, the largest island in the largest lake in the world!
Lake Superior and the inland lakes offer scenic beauty in addition to great kayaking, canoeing, swimming, and sun bathing. Crystal clear waters and pristine, unspoiled beaches provide great summer fun opportunities for locals and tourists alike. These photos show just some of the spectacular beaches within a few miles of Marquette. Summers are extraordinary; pleasantly warm with low humidity and frequent sunny days.
It stays light until almost 11PM during the longest summer days, allowing people to take full advantage of outdoor activities. Hiking trails, camping, four golf courses, and lakeside paths for running and biking make for a wide variety of fun things to do in summertime.
Isle Royale National Park is a unique part of WFO Marquette's forecast area. Located in Lake Superior 50 miles from mainland Upper Michigan, Isle Royale is 45 miles long and nine miles wide. Lacking roads and telephones and accessible only by float plane or boat (an adventurous five-hour trip), Isle Royale is the perfect getaway! Isle Royale offers 165 miles of hiking trails and 36 primitive campgrounds for backpackers, recreational boaters, and kayakers. There are historic lighthouses, shipwrecks, and ancient copper mining sites. The topography is astounding, with cliffs, beaches, bogs, streams, inland lakes, and ridges 500 feet above Lake Superior. Isle Royale is a living laboratory and United States Biosphere Reserve featuring hundreds of moose and several wolf packs. As one of our backpacking crews demonstrate, WFO Marquette forecasters must experience the island to understand its weather, climate, and visitors. We enjoy a special relationship with the Park staff, often giving weather presentations to the passengers en route to the island.
If solitude is your thing, check out our inland lakes such as Fish Lake pictured here. Many of our lakes are undeveloped, great for bass, walleye, and northern pike fishing, wilderness camping, and for viewing eagles and loons. Craig Lake State Park, about an hour's drive west of Marquette, is comprised of four wilderness lakes interconnected by waterways, portage trails, and backpacking trails. This "hidden" State Park is such a special treasure that there are no highway signs marking the 6-mile jeep trail leading to it! A two-hour drive from Marquette takes the canoe trekker to dozens of interconnected wilderness lakes south of Munising and the Sylvania Wilderness Area south of Watersmeet.
Few areas of the country rival Upper Michigan's spectacular fall colors. Sugar maple, birch, and aspen adorn our forests against a backdrop of pine, spruce, and fir. Pictured are the fall colors at Blueberry Ridge, about 10 miles southwest of Marquette, which later in the winter is one of the best cross country ski trails in the Great Lakes region.
There are no dull seasonal weather regimes at WFO Marquette as each season has its challenge. Most folks move to Marquette to enjoy the wonderfully delightful snow season. On the average, snow is on the ground from around Thanksgiving through the last week of March. During that time, the area is a winter playground for both locals and tourists alike.
One of the finest alpine ski and snow board areas in the Midwest, Marquette Mountain, is located just 10 minutes from downtown Marquette with a dozen more alpine ski areas within a two- hour drive. Cross country ski opportunities are abundant with 12 groomed ski areas within the county, offering some of the most challenging terrain in North America. An extensive network of groomed snowmobile trails crisscross the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, allowing access to scenic regions otherwise inaccessible during the winter. Opportunities for ice hockey and ice skating are many, both indoor and out, and sledding and snowshoeing offer winter fun for all ages.
The area hosts several major national events during the winter...the 220 mile U.P. 200 Sled Dog Championships are held every February, marking one of the largest sled dog races in North America. The whole town turns out to cheer the racers off from Marquette on a Friday evening and is there to greet them on their return midday Sunday. WFO staff volunteer along with the community in making the U.P 200 a huge success.
Nearby Ishpeming hosts the Continental International Ski Jump Cup annually at Suicide Hill. The Noquenamon Ski Marathon, the fastest growing cross country ski race in North America, runs a very scenic and challenging 53K course starting in Ishpeming and ending in Marquette. We generally have one or two WFO folks in the race! Our Skywarn amateur radio station is so ideally located and equipped that Marquette amateur radio operators support the Noquenamon Ski Marathon right from our office!
The town of Negaunee, where the Weather Forecast Office is located, is home to several events at the Lucy Hill Luge Track at Naturbahn Hill, where Olympic Silver Medalist Chris Thorpe trained early in his career. The National Ski Hall of Fame is located in Negaunee. Marquette is also home to the U.S. Olympic Education Training Center, specializing in training and teaching America's brightest young short track speed skating and boxing athletes.
COMMUNITY DESCRIPTION: Marquette is the largest city in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and is located on Lake Superior near the center of the Upper Peninsula's recreational area. The principal employers in the Marquette area include Northern Michigan University (NMU), Marquette General Hospital, tourism including area motels and restaurants, and the Port of Marquette. Marquette's "Presque Isle" city park, nearly surrounded by Lake Superior, is noted for its beauty and recreational opportunities, both summer and winter. This winter scene captures Presque Isle's rugged east side cliffs. The west side has a gorgeous beach, a favorite launching spot for kayakers. Nearby mines support the communities of Negaunee and Ishpeming. The 750-1,000 foot Great Lakes freighters dock at Marquette to load taconite iron concentrate and transport it across Lake Superior and down Lakes Michigan or Huron to support the nation's steel industry.
The population of Marquette is about 21,000 with another 8,450 students at NMU. Population of Marquette County approaches 70,000. All major churches are represented, and while some minority populations are only a small percentage of the total, nearly all ethnic peoples and races are represented with the University presence.
For indoor exercise and sports, the Physical Education Instructional Facility (PEIF) on the campus of Northern Michigan University is unequaled. The PEIF has indoor tennis courts, volleyball, racquetball, indoor running track, swimming pool, ice skating rink, basketball courts, climbing wall, and a complete fitness center. The PEIF has a food court and lounge area with large screen TV. WFO Marquette staff are fans of Northern Michigan University Wildcat Hockey, Central Collegiate Hockey Association, attending the games as a group. You'll also find us at the Wildcat basketball, football, and volleyball games. Join us Friday evenings as our office bowling team, "The Lightning Strikes," competes in downtown Marquette.
CLIMATE: Summers are warm and dry and very pleasant. The July maximum and minimum averages range from 77 to 54. Winter temperatures are modified by Lake Superior with the January averages ranging from 22 to 4. Average precipitation is 35 inches with 110 inches of snowfall the average in the city and close to 200 inches over the highlands to the west of town.
EDUCATION: The city of Marquette has several K-5 community schools, two middle schools, and one high school. There are two parochial schools. Nearby communities have 13 K-5 schools, four middle schools, and four high schools. Northern Michigan University within the city limits of Marquette offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate degree programs.
TRANSPORTATION: The airport serving the area is located in Gwinn, about 30 minutes from the WFO. There is public transportation in the area but for round the clock shift workers an automobile is a necessity. A bus service connects to other Upper Peninsula cities and there is an AMTRAK bus connection to Chicago for train connections east, west, and south.
Upper Michigan is someplace special! Nowhere else in the country will you find such a rich variety of scenery, topography, and things to do, such a clean, hassle-free environment, and such fine, practical people as in the "North Woods" of Upper Michigan.