2017-04-06 / Local News

Snowfall likely to miss, and golf course opens!

By Amy Hubbell
Of The Enterprise staff

County residents are expected to be taking a collective sigh of relief today — and a golf course has already opened its doors.

Weather forecasters say the Leelanau Peninsula is not in the path of a spring snow storm that was expected to drop as much as eight inches of snow on the east side of the northern Lower Peninsula.

“You won’t see much in terms of snow,” National Weather Service meteorologist Kevin Farina said yesterday morning. “The system is away from Leelanau and you have the influence of Lake Michigan as well.”

A winter storm watch was in effect at press time yesterday with the heaviest snowfall along a line from I-75 east, from the Mackinac Bridge south to Kent County.

“The system is over Missouri currently and southwest Michigan is seeing rain from that system now,” Farina said.

Rain was expected to turn to snow last night and continue throughout the day. Wet, heavy snow and northerly wind gusts as high as 35 to 45 mph set up the potential for tree damage and possible power outages in the storm trajectory .

Chance of precipitation is 50 percent in Leelanau County, but that’s supposed to fall as rain with 40 degrees are expected.

High winds are expected to continue Friday. But clouds should move out allowing sunny skies to prevail and continue through Saturday, accompanied by a jump in high temperature to the mid- 50s.

Sunday looks to be even nicer with temps breaking the 60-degree mark.

The apparent arrival of spring has given Road Commission crews an opportunity to get a jump on some projects.

“We sent out our first broom brushes this week in Leland and Lake Leelanau,” managing director Dan Wagner said. “And our crews will be clearing drains and spillways, filling potholes on M-22 and do a little roadside mowing before things begin to green up.”

Rest assured, in the event that the storm goes off course and Leelanau ends up having more snow than rain, the Road Commission will be up to the task.

“We’ve converted a few of our trucks (for spring use). But we will still have several fully-functional plows to use if we have to,” Wagner said. “The fleet won’t be fully converted until we’re absolutely certain there will be no snow.”

Highs in the upper 50s and low 60s brought 75 golfers out to the Northport Creek Golf Course last weekend.

“We opened last Wednesday for walking carts only,” said Chris McCann, director of golf. “People were itching to get out on the course. We’re waiting for some rain and warmer weather before we get the carts out so we don’t damage the grass.”

Opening day came a full two weeks before last year’s date. The course opened on April 15 in 2016 and April 7 in 2015.

As of yesterday, Leelanau County’s 2016-17 snowfall in Maple City was 123.2. That’s about 10 inches more than the total for the same time last year.

For those who submitted guesses in the Enterprise snowfall contest there are still a few weeks to wait before the contest ends.

Previous the contest period ended in mid-April. This year, for ease in bookkeeping, the season was extended to May 1.

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