The beauty of the lake-effect storm

All the weather attention has been on Buffalo — deservedly so — but when it comes to lake-effect snow, our wet friend to the north is no slouch.

Check out the beauty of this satellite photo from Tuesday.

Photo: MODIS Today

That looks like some serious lake-effect snow on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and the Duluth News Tribune confirms it today. Thirty inches of snow has fallen in Iron Country.

It’s good news — sort of. It’s snowmobile tourism time soon and the white brings the green. The only problem is the snow arrived before the season.

The snow is welcome news for a region that depends heavily on winter tourism for its economy, especially snowmobilers, who spend big money on motel rooms, meals, bar tabs, gasoline and more.

“It’s why we moved up here. But I don’t think anyone was ready for this much,’’ said Ricardo Luna, co-owner of Burgers Bar and Grill in Gile.

Luna, a native of southern Texas, had never seen more than a dusting of snow before moving to northern Wisconsin from Houston less than three years ago.

“It’s our second winter,” he said. “I’m still getting used to it.”

At Northwoods Rental and Sport Center in Hurley the phone has been ringing often since news of the big snow spread around the Upper Midwest last weekend.

“We’re getting a ton of people calling wanting to rent machines, but we can’t do it. The trails don’t open until Dec. 1,” said Brittany Lehto, office manager at the snowmobile shop.

The snow provided a fitting backdrop for Ironwood’s tree-lighting last evening, kicking off the annual Jack Frost Festival.

Another 1 to 3 inches of “frost” will fall today.