2016-11-17 / Front Page

Finally a frost; will snow follow?

By Amy Hubbell
Of The Enterprise staff

Putting off those end-of-season chores?

Procrastinate no more. Northern Michigan could be in for a little winter this weekend, on the heels of near-record high temperatures today and Friday.

But, oh, what a fall it’s been. All that warm weather extended the fall cleanup season and was reflected in sales at Northport Ace Hardware.

“People moved up projects they had pushed off until spring,” store manager Joe Grajek said. “They figured ‘The weather is beautiful. I might as well get it done now.’”

Grajek said the warmth has impacted the sale of insecticides and mice-deterrent materials.

“I even sold fly strips a few days ago,” he said.

Insects will face tough sledding this weekend.

“You’ll see a spring-like temperatures for the remainder of the work week,” National Weather Service (NWS) meteorologist Jeff Zoltowsky said. “Things will change drastically Saturday with temperatures closer to 40 and dropping throughout the day.”

And with cold temperatures comes the possibility of precipitation in the frozen form — snow showers. However, the chance for snow is less likely on the Leelanau Peninsula than inland counties due to the tempering effect provided by the warm waters of Lake Michigan.

“Leelanau has a little less chance (of snow) than other, more inland locations,” Zoltowsky said. “If there is snow, it’s likely to be sloppier with less accumulation.”

Unseasonably warm weather stretched fall in Leelanau County well beyond its traditional calendar date.

It wasn’t until Friday that the first fall freeze was recorded in the county. Temps bottomed out at 24 degrees that morning at the NWS cooperative weather station in Maple City — the first hard frost of the season.

However, the frost wasn’t severe across the peninsula. Temperatures at the Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Center in Bingham Township and the NWS site in Northport dropped only to 33 degrees — just a hair above freezing.

For perspective, last fall and early winter were considered mild with the first measurable snowfall waiting until close to Christmas. Still, by this time last year the mercury had dropped to 32 degrees or lower on eight separate occasions in Maple City.

The first frost in 2016 of 29 degrees was recorded Oct. 18 in Maple City, followed by lows of 31 on Oct. 26 and 30.

A week-long stretch of lows ranging from 27 to 32 were recorded Nov. 8-13, 2015, in Maple City. Still, temperatures for November 2015 came in 4.5 degrees higher than average.

Two weeks into this month, the average daily high at Maple City is 60.2 degrees — more than 11 degrees above “normal.”

A high of 71 degrees on Nov. 6 contributed to the weather anomaly.

With the delayed “first freeze,” the average low for the month to date is also skewed. The average low recorded in Maple City through Tuesday morning was 38.9 degrees, 5 degrees above normal.

The forecast calls for temperatures in the 50s and 60s through Friday. However, a shift to more seasonal weather is in order when temperatures struggle to reach 40 degrees Saturday and forecast to only hit the mid-30s on Sunday.

“We’ll have all our winter gear — shovels and heaters — out along with our Christmas items Friday,” Grajek, the hardware store manager said.

Return to top