Winter weather may have taken awhile to hit northern Michigan, but it is here and time to break out shovels, plows and salt once again. While some people may have liked the delay in snow, others are celebrating its arrival with the possibilities of cancellations, snowmen, taking out snowmobiles or planning ice fishing trips. Either way, snow is here, but for how long?
Gaylord National Weather Service Meteorologist Nick Schwartz said this winter has been a roller coaster ride with temperature changes.
According to Schwartz, Northeast Michigan saw a series of systems moving through the area on Thursday that started with rain, but then changed due to low pressure, causing the first heavy snow accumulation in the area. The rain transitioned into snow and continued to fall until midnight on Friday, which was Northeast Michigan's first snow accumulation of the year, amounting to 7.2 inches.
News Photo by Emily Siegmon
Bill Kennings of Oscoda braves the winter weather to drive his wife to Alpena’s Northern Eye optical clinic. Brushing off his car, he is getting ready for what he said is an hour drive back to Oscoda.
"Up until now that was the most snow we've seen this year; this year's standards predict light snow. There is low pressure seen now, but it is moving southward," Schwartz said.
According to Schwartz, Tuesday's snowfall will bring about three to five inches. The heaviest amount of snow accumulated in the afternoon, but there was a steady to moderate amount of snow.
"The amount of inches may go up this afternoon and evening. The temperatures are lower, but they started out mild in the mid-30s and dropped to the 20s by Tuesday afternoon. The snow will pick up in intensity, 1.9 inches have already been measured earlier Tuesday morning," he said.
The area was under winter weather advisory on Tuesday until 7 p.m., and Schwartz predicted moderate to heavy snow, and that the snow would taper off in the evening.
As a result, there were numerous local cancellations and delays, including Alpena Public Schools sports events, practices and club meetings. Other school closings include Fairview and Mio, which were dismissed at 11:30 a.m.; Hillman at 1 p.m.; Rogers City at 1:15 p.m.; and Alcona at 2 p.m. Weather conditions may have caused bus delays.
Schwartz said the rest of the week may have some lingering lake effect snow, and active weather will continue because of cooler temperatures. He also predicts that there will be more snow in the area starting on Thursday.
"There are on and off chances of snow this week. There may be insignificant snow coming on Thursday, but there are heavier snow possibilities starting late Friday and early Saturday," he said.
However, by the end of the week Schwartz is expecting the weather will return to above or average moderating temperatures.
"This winter has had above normal temperatures and below normal snowfall. We've seen shifting mild weather patterns, but last year we had much colder weather,' Schwartz said.
According to Schwartz, there are cold air intrusion patterns that are changing, but there is not an arctic outbreak or prolonged lake effect snow prediction. However, locally, there have been more active wet patterns.
"The weather patterns have been established, it would not surprise me if we do return to near to above normal temperatures again this winter," Schwartz said.
Emily Siegmon can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5687.