winter

Benzie Central Schools got a cop in the district in January. The position is funded by a county millage and will last four years.
Morgan Springer / Interlochen Public Radio

This week on Points North, learn about how one northern Michigan county tackled school safety by putting police officers in their schools. Plus, head out to Lake Leelanau to watch ice boaters enjoy the final days of the season.


Winter weather led to record-breaking ski season

Mar 14, 2019
The view from atop Crystal Mountain
Wikimedia Commons

 

 

Northern Michigan ski resorts say they had one of their best years yet. Many report more people have hit the slopes this year because of heavy snowfall and colder temperatures. 

Crystal Mountain Spokesperson Brian Lawson says the resort saw a 10 percent increase in attendance from last year. He says an especially frigid winter had people coming to the slopes.

"It keeps skiing and snowboarding front of mind," Lawson says. "I think that’s definitely been the case this season."

Taylor Wizner

This week on Points North, a community prepares to be stranded on an island in the middle of winter. Plus, a furrier transforms animal pelts into expensive clothes. 


If you think your propane provider is unfairly raising your rates during the cold snap, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel wants you to notify her office. 

When I moved from Tennessee to Michigan, winter hit me like a ton of bricks, or maybe it was a full body ice cream headache.

Remember how winters used to be really, really cold? One day you’d wake up and there was no doubt – fall was gone. Winter had arrived. Suddenly the wind rushed straight from the arctic and smacked you in the face. Snow piled up around you, and your eyes stung from the cold.

It's a mighty tall order: maintaining navigation channels through the Great Lakes all winter long.

That mission is fulfilled by a mighty ship: the USCGC Mackinaw. She's the only heavy ice-breaker the U.S. Coast Guard has on the Great Lakes.

She docks in Cheboygan, and during the winter months she maintains navigation channels through the Great Lakes by splitting ice.​

Vasilios Tasikas, the commanding officer of the Mackinaw, spoke to Stateside about his ship’s unique mission.

To quote actor-writer-comedian Steve Martin: "A day without sunshine is like, you know, night."

Old man winter officially knocks down the seasonal door at 11:48 p.m. next Monday, December 21. The good news is that the days will start to get longer. The bad news:  it will be three months before the days, once again, become longer than night. 

If you are one of those Michiganders whose mood slides downhill as we slide into winter, you've got plenty of company. And it's all tied into the relationship among light, mood and melatonin.

National Weather Service

UPDATED 6:50 pm

Gaylord hit 35 degrees below zero this morning, one of the coldest temperatures ever recorded there. A volunteer observer noted that temperature. The thermometer at Gaylord Regional Airport went down to minus 31, according to the National Weather Service.

Other cities set records for the day, including Traverse City at minus 22, two degrees colder than the previous record for February 20th.

Neither of those approach the coldest temperature ever recorded in Michigan.

Bitter weather is back and likely to stick around

Feb 17, 2015

Highs have been in the teens for the last couple days, but it’s just been a brief reprieve from the bitter cold that returns to northern Michigan overnight and for the next couple days.

“Thursday will be the colder of the two days, where some areas are not likely to get above zero for their daytime highs,” says John Boris, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gaylord. He says the winds won’t be as bad as they were this past weekend, when the wind made it feel like 40-below in some parts of the region. But the winds will again be a major factor.

  Weather is likely to be especially dangerous overnight in the Grand Traverse Bay region. Grand Traverse Emergency Management asks people to avoid driving or going out unprotected, especially after midnight tonight through mid-Saturday morning.

If there's no other choice, they say to plan ahead layer your clothes and place a small emergency kit, including extra clothes, hats, gloves and blankets in your car.

Snow and winds are expected to intensify overnight, says Andy Sullivan, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gaylord.

Time to embrace Michigan winters

Feb 2, 2015

"Water Winter Wonderland" was proudly printed on Michigan license plates in the boom-time Sixties.

That slogan told the truth, we're an honest to goodness four-season northern state. Similar regions worldwide embrace this reality, but we seem to be having issues.

Well, I’m taking a stand for winter, and for our state.

Those of us who lived through last winter are now familiar with the term "polar vortex." But are we using that phrase correctly? Sara Schultz is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in White Lake. Exactly what IS the polar vortex? And what is it not?

Listen to Sara Schultz above


Advance word from forecasters: This winter could be a replay of the not-to-be-forgotten winter of 2013-2014.

That is not good news for counties still reeling from the costs of clearing record amounts of snow from the roads.

The rough winter of 2013-2014 was not kind to Michigan grapes.

And we're going to see that in the wine grape crop this year.

Linda Jones is executive director at Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council. Jones projects a 50% reduction in wine output due to the harsh winter. 

Report says milder winters in U.P. are affecting forests

Sep 23, 2014

The U.S. Forest Service has put out a report on how our warming climate is affecting forests in the U.P.

Stephen Handler is a climate change specialist with the Forest Service. He says, over the past several decades, we’ve been getting more extreme rainstorms in the region.

“So, more rain of two inches at a time, three inches at a time; and we’re seeing our winters, which is our characteristic climatic feature, shrinking, so, getting shorter and getting more variable, or getting less consistent snowpack,” he says.

As Temperatures Warm, Lake Superior Has Yet To Melt

May 29, 2014
Ellen Airgood

It was a warm Memorial Day weekend on the shores of Lake Superior, but no one would have guessed it based on views of the water Saturday.

“The first day I could wear shorts and a t-shirt, and then the ice had all blown back into shore,” says Ellen Airgood. The author of South of Superior runs a diner in Grand Marais with her husband.

Airgood says anglers aren’t thrilled, but a lot of tourists have been “tickled” by the sight. Some have even been testing out the waters. She shared some photos from a road trip she took along the shore Wednesday evening. 

Growth in the U.S. economy slowed dramatically — to just 0.1 percent — in the January-March quarter amid a particularly harsh winter, according to a report Wednesday from the Commerce Department.

The latest GDP figure was down from 2.6 percent growth in the fourth quarter of last year and represents the weakest growth since the end of 2012.

Governor Declares Emergency In Marquette Over Frozen Pipes

Apr 17, 2014
Marquette Fire Department / Mining Journal

A winter of freezing pipes and broken infrastructure has hit one community in the Upper Peninsula hard enough to prompt Governor Rick Snyder to declare a state of emergency for the area Thursday morning.

The declaration paves the way for state aid in Marquette County, where water and sewer pipe damage has already cost the county $1.6 million dollars. Several local communities have run out of money to pay for repairs. Officials say they expect the situation to get worse before it gets better. 

Farmers are finally able to head out into their fields, orchards and vineyards to see how everything fared over the winter. 

Ken Nye is a commodities specialist with the Michigan Farm Bureau. 

He's expecting a lot of damage to Michigan fruits. 

Peter Payette

Water drips through my kitchen sink all day every day, like many others in the region, to keep my underground pipes from freezing.

For a month or so, we've let it flow at the width of a pencil lead. Some run water advisories are in effect until mid-April.

So just how much water is going through there?

I stuck a plastic gallon milk jug under the flow and timed it. I calculated that I’m running about 90 gallons a day. That's about two bathtubs of water run right down the drain daily.

Warmer Temperatures Bring No Relief From Frozen Pipes

Mar 10, 2014
Dennis Amith/Flickr

Despite daytime temperatures rising into the 40s in northern Michigan, underground water pipes continue to freeze.

The Benzie County Village of Beulah is trying to thaw out lines to several homes that froze in one day Saturday. It also stepped up its water run advisory to a mandatory order this weekend.

As our long, cold, snowy winter has dragged on, one result can be seen with stunning clarity from outer space. Satellite photos prove that the Great Lakes are nearly totally covered with ice, and we're close to setting a record for the most ice cover in 34 years.

We wondered if we might break that record, and we wondered what this will mean for the Great Lakes once spring finally gets here and that ice melts.

Alan Steinman, director of the Annis Water Resources Institute at Grand Valley State University joined us today.

When I say "river rafting," you probably conjure up images of a beautiful warm day – maybe a packed picnic – but what about gliding down a Michigan river in the heart of winter?

Scott Harper and his wife have been taking people on winter rafting trips down the East Jordan River in Northern Michigan for the past 15 years.

They co-own Jordan Valley Outfitters in East Jordan.*Listen to the interview above.

Leelanau Ice Caves Now Unsafe

Feb 21, 2014
Deb Poltorak

Ice caves off the coast of the Leelanau Peninsula are now “very unsafe.” County officials ask people not to enter onto the ice to walk toward the unique formations.

Winds have moved the ice and there is now open water within feet of the caves. There are also large cracks in the cave’s arches and they are expected to collapse soon.

Lake Michigan has nearly 60 percent ice cover, at last report. The ice caves formed due to this winter’s near-historic levels of ice cover on the Great Lakes.

The state Senate has approved a plan to fix and maintain roads being ripped apart by brutal winter weather. The Senate passed a mid-year budget bill Thursday that includes $100 million of emergency money for roads.

The state Department of Transportation and local governments have been constantly running snow plows, spreading salt, and patching potholes. That means they’re looking at huge winter budget overages.

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