TRAVERSE CITY — Frigid weather descending on northwestern Michigan could make Thanksgiving look a bit more like Christmas in Traverse City.
A strong wall of cold air will push down across the region from Canada during the weekend, bringing a wintry blast that likely will end fall for the foreseeable future, said Andy Sullivan, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Gaylord.
“It’s going to be bitterly cold, unseasonably cold,” he said. “We’re not seeing any warmer air next week.”
Temperatures likely won’t climb above the mid-20s before Monday and won’t pass the 35-degree mark during the coming week.
And the frigid air could well bring plenty of snow with it.
Forecasters predict the Traverse City area likely will see between three and five inches of snow by the end of the weekend. The cold front will pick up moisture from Lake Superior and Lake Michigan on its way south before blanketing the region.
“Some places could have, worst case scenario, upwards of a foot,” Sullivan said. “This flow, it’s a real dry air mass. It’s going to grab moisture off of Lake Superior and Lake Michigan.”
Areas of higher elevation like the hills east of Traverse City likely will see more intense snow. The heaviest snow concentrations will fall west of Interstate 75, Sullivan said.
Annie Hill, a saleswoman for Ace Hardware on West Front Street, spent Friday stocking shelves packed with gloves and shovels.
“We get a big rush during the first couple of snowfalls,” she said. “People get almost in a panic.”
Last week’s snow caught store employees a bit off-guard and customers cleared out some of the shovel stock, Hill said.
So she ordered extra and loaded shelves with all types of snow-fighting tools.
Hill expects the store will see waves of buyers for the rest of the season who need salt, shovels, gas cans and gloves.
It’s a prediction that seems likely if Sullivan’s forecast comes to fruition.
“We’re kind of expecting a colder winter,” he said.