2018-05-03 / Front Page

Flakes separate contest entries

Winner within .3 inches of total
By Jen Murphy
of the Enterprise staff

Persistence pays off. That’s certainly true for this year’s Leelanau Enterprise Annual Snowfall Contest winner.

Glen Arbor resident Elizabeth Morrison has entered the contest every year since 2007. Finally after 11 years, she was a winner.

“I just made wild guesses before,” Morrison said. “I was more judicious this year.”

The 539 contest entries this year varied from a mere 73 inches to a robust 276 inches, which put Morrison and the actual snowfall total above an “average” winter.

Morrison wasn’t exactly precise in her guessing methods.

“I looked over previous years,” she said. “And I knew it was not going to be the most and it wasn’t going to be the least. One day, I just knew what my guess was going to be: 171.4 inches.”

This year’s snowfall total of 171.1 inches gave the Leelanau peninsula just a flake over 20 inches more than the half-century mean of 151.3 inches as recorded by the National Weather Service at its Maple City volunteer station.

The Leelanau Enterprise snow gauge used totals from workers at the Leelanau County Road Commission garage from 1955-2013. Since then, the NWS totals have been used.

A mid-spring snowstorm put snowfall above both averages.

Morrison is one of the rare county residents to benefit from the dumping. Her guess was almost spot on: Just three-tenths of an inch away from the actual snowfall.

Morrison will be awarded $200 for her guess that was pretty close to perfect.

Other contest winners were close as well. In fact, second place was easily secured by Suttons Bay resident Barbara Skowronski guessed just one-tenth of an inch more snow than Morrison. She predicted 171.5 inches, and will receive $100.

Skowronski said she was happy — but surprised — to win.

“I’ve entered for the past four or five years,” she said. “But I never expected to win.”

Her guess was just that. “I don’t have the slightest idea how I got the number I did. I just wrote numbers in,” Skowronski said.

Third place was captured by a Traverse City resident. Tom Maklebust entered the contest with 172 inches. He will be awarded $50.

And fourth place is shared between Heidi Babcock from Northport and Geoff Davey from Huntington Woods, who both guessed 170 inches of snowfall for the season. Both Babcock and Davey will receive a signed copy of photographer Ken Scott’s “Back Pages of Leelanau County” tabletop book, which features reproductions taken from Scott’s photos published weekly on the back page of Section One of the Leelanau Enterprise.

Looking back over a winter season that seemed to never end, December and April were the heaviest snowfall months. While April set a record snowfall for the month, December fell short of a record while still producing an above average snowfall, and the highest monthly amount for Leelanau County this year, at 62.5 inches. Every other month was close to average, and perhaps a bit lower.

And for all of the inches of white stuff that have fallen in the past 50 years, the 2018 snow season places eighth, according to the National Weather Service. Still a far cry from the record 212 inches of snowfall in 1977.

While other winners may enter next year, Morrison said now that she’s won she didn’t need to enter the contest again. She will just enjoy the snow instead.

“I’m happy to be here,” she said. “I’m not a snowbird. I love all of these inches of snow.”

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