2017-11-30 / Front Page

Don’t worry, Christmas and snow coming

By Amy Hubbell
Of The Enterprise staff

Anthony Forton spent part of this week putting out stakes to identify his client’s snow removal boundaries.

“It’s the calm before the storm,” said Forton, who works for NorthFlight EMS and owns Modern Day Outfitters, a snow removal business based in Maple City. “I’ve had a few calls the last couple weeks, but people don’t think too much about plowing when they don’t see any snow on the ground.”

But the scenes of bare ground will likely change come this time next week, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Jim Keysor. Should that prediction come true, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration model giving Leelanau has a 75-90 percent of having a white Christmas will seem more realistic.

“There’s a major pattern change coming for the middle and end of next week,” he said.

Arctic air has been “bottled up” near the North Pole, keeping air from the Pacific Ocean and creating the mild weather Peninsula residents have enjoyed for the past week.

DECORATIONS ARE up on bridges across Leelanau County, including those spanning Glen Lake, the Leland River, and the Lake Leelanau Narrows, which is shown above. DECORATIONS ARE up on bridges across Leelanau County, including those spanning Glen Lake, the Leland River, and the Lake Leelanau Narrows, which is shown above. Indeed, temperatures have been more like spring than late fall.

On Black Friday, the mercury rose to a balmy 65 degrees in Maple City. Temperatures dropped slight to 58 on Saturday allowing shoppers to go out in their shoes — not boots.

Mild temperatures continued through Monday when the mercury reached 55 degrees.

Warm temperatures kept precipitation to the liquid variety leaving the annual snowfall total the same as the Nov. 23 issue at 6.8 inches.

Much of the snowfall tally — four inches — came from Nov. 10-12, and didn’t stick long on the ground.

It was then, almost on cue, that potential clients kept Forton’s phone ringing when the ground began to turn white.

How does 2017 snowfall compare to a year ago?

As of the Dec. 1 issue of the Enterprise, just 3.7 inches of snow had fallen at a volunteer weather station authorized by the National Weather Service in Maple City. The year previous, some 10.6 inches had been measured by the end of November.

Lacking measurable snow through the end of today, the total for the month of November will stand at six inches.

The total represents just a smattering compared to the November record set in 1995. That month 43 inches of snow was measured.

The lack of snow will not impact scheduling for the 4-H Snowmobile Safety Course for youth ages 12-15 set for Saturday at Cedar Hilltoppers Snowmobile Club.

The class, jointly offered by the Hilltoppers and 4-H Youth program, the class covers safe machine operations, first aid and the law.

Things are expected to change in a major way come this time next week.

“People who don’t like snow should enjoy the next several days,” Keysor said. “Because reality is going to hit and it will be much more wintry.”

Come Wednesday, high temperatures are expected to drop from the mid-40s to the upper 20s.

Cold temperatures over warm Lake Michigan waters will activate the lake effect snow machine bringing the first measurable snowfall in weeks.

The Weather Service forecast for the remainder of December falls in line with historical records which show a 75 to 90 percent chance of county residents seeing a “white” Christmas.

These are better odds than Traverse City which has a 60 to 75 percent chance of snow on Dec. 25.

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