2017-12-14 / Front Page

Winter taking hold

Dogs, people beware of ice
By Amy Hubbell
Of The Enterprise staff

Shari Prevost of Cedar is warning pet owners about newly-formed ice in Leelanau County.

On Monday her 7-month old yellow Lab, Pearl, and her brother’s 4-year-old golden Lab, Homer, ventured out on thin ice and plunged into the lake at its base off Parker Road in Solon Township.

“A day before there were otters swimming around, so initially I thought it was an albino otter,” Prevost said. “Then I realized they had broken through the ice.”

A 15-foot area of water surrounded them where the ice had broken about 40 yards off shore.

“The snow covered the ice, so they just thought it was another part of the yard to play in,” Prevost said.

She didn’t know what else to do as she screamed and screamed from the shore.

Prevost’s brother, Scott Fouch, sprung into action and ran out to the hole where the dogs were struggling.

“By the time he got there, Pearl had gotten out but Homer was still in the water,” Prevost said.

As he got closer to the hole where the ice grew thinner, Fouch spread himself out on the surface to distribute his weight and safely plucked his Lab from the icy water, which was about 5 to 6 feet deep.

Both dogs and Fouch were cold after the polar plunge, but uninjured.

“If their motion didn’t catch my eye, they would have disappeared,” Prevost said.

Along with icy roads, thin ice is a common danger in early winter.

December displaced March when coming in like a lamb with the high hitting 58 degrees on Dec. 5. The next day, last Wednesday, the high was 28 degrees at the National Weather Service volunteer station in Maple City.

Temps dropped across the county. The average daily high for Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Center in Bingham Townshipand stayed there for three straight days contributing for an average high temperature of 27.3 beginning last Thursday and ending Tuesday.

In Maple City, temps bottomed out at 10 degrees early Tuesday morning.

Those low temps brought out lake-effect snow with more than 15 inches falling in Maple City from Dec. 6 through Tuesday, with more snow coming down Wednesday through this newspaper’s deadline.

That prompted volunteers with the Friends of Sleeping Bear organization to begin grooming the Heritage Trail, and snowmobilers to pull out their sleds.

Hugh Farber who lives on the east side of Lake Leelanau in Bingham Township also reported snow on top of the “water” across the lake yesterday.

And ice fishermen were spotted venturing onto little Glen Lake on Monday.

A winter weather advisory called for 4-10 inches of snow Tuesday for several counties along the shore of Lake Michigan, including Leelanau County.

Winds whipped and cold temperatures dropped the windchill to the teens and decreased visibility closed school Leland, Lake Leelanau St. Mary and Suttons Bay schools.

The recent snows bring the snowfall total in Maple City to 21.9 inches.

Slow but steady snowfall is forecast through Saturday, with four inches expected on Friday alone.

However, on Sunday the high temperature is forecast to rise above the freezing mark for the first time since Dec. 6. And rather than all snow, a “wintry mix” that includes rain is expected through Tuesday.

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