2016-11-24 / Outdoors

Weather flips, so no more flip-flops

By Amy Hubbell
Of The Enterprise staff


MIKE SCHULTZ, right, and Brett Keck of Traverse City place safety ropes around greens at the Manitou Passage golf course to ward off snowmobilers. Schultz said staking off the greens is one of the last projects before course crews are laid off for winter. Working Thursday, they beat the first measurable snowfall in Leelanau County by two days. MIKE SCHULTZ, right, and Brett Keck of Traverse City place safety ropes around greens at the Manitou Passage golf course to ward off snowmobilers. Schultz said staking off the greens is one of the last projects before course crews are laid off for winter. Working Thursday, they beat the first measurable snowfall in Leelanau County by two days. If you don’t like the weather in Michigan, wait five minutes.

No truer words could be spoken in Leelanau County, where people were wearing flip-flops Friday and winter boots on Saturday.

A high temperature of 71 Friday in Maple City set a new record for that date, topping the past record by a full 8 degrees. The previous record high was 63 degrees set in 1971.

But during the overnight period there was a full scale weather pattern change that provided a “reality check” for county residents. Some 2.5 inches of snow was recorded Saturday at the National Weather Service coop weather station in Maple City — the first measurable snowfall of the winter of 2016-17.

“The southern wind flipped and a big system brought north winds that resulted in snow showers,” National Weather Service meteorologist Matt Gillen said. “We’re in that transition season.”

In more inland areas of the northern Lower Peninsula, snowfall was significantly heavier. Ground crews at Thirlby Field Saturday had a full-time job keeping the gridiron clear enough to see the yard lines for the Glen Lake win over Pine River. More than 10 inches of snow was recorded in Kalkaska resulting in the first snow day of the year for students.

The wind was more of an issue than snow on the peninsula. Winds of 50 to 55 mph were measured in the county resulting in dozens of toppled trees and widespread power outages as a result.

Between 5:45 p.m. Friday and 7:15 p.m. Sunday, the county dispatch center received 71 calls reporting downed trees and power lines as well as other weather related incidents.

Consumers Energy reported that Leelanau County had approximately 1,800 residences affected by loss of power, and as of 3 p.m. Sunday all but 280 were restored. A few outages lingered into Monday, but were reported restored by noon, according to county Emergency Services director Matt Ansorge.

Cherryland Electric Cooperative had 1,400 members impacted throughout its service area. Some 264 of these were in Leelanau County.

“It was challenging because it was a bunch of small outages that required many repairs,” said Cherryland spokesman Rachel Johnson. “We had crews stretch from Suttons Bay to Yuba.”

Outages for coop members were concentrated on the east side of the county. The largest group of 88 customers, near E. Bingham Road, were without power for five hours.

However, the most complicated repair took five different workers to complete. They were to a transformer on N. Jacobson Road.

“When they arrived at the scene the transformer was on the ground,” Johnson said.

The repairs required the replacement of polls and the transformer. Power was restored to residents within 12 hours.

The winds have since died down but cool temperatures remain and along with the chance of more of the white stuff.

The NWS forecast called for an 80 percent chance of precipitation yesterday with a mixture of rain and snow forecast.

“This could make it hazardous for people traveling from Leelanau County to I-75,” Gillen said.

Guess it’s time to put the flip- flops away.

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