Traverse City Record-Eagle

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February 8, 2014

Darkest days of winter on wane

TRAVERSE CITY — Here’s some good news: Winter’s grip is loosening on northern Michigan.

So said Scott Rozanski, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Gaylord.

There may not be much evidence of that assertion, since temperatures that could prompt much teeth chattering won’t abate over the next several days. But still ... .

“There is some glimmer of hope that we could trend warmer by the end of the work week next week,” Rozanski said.

Any respite from the cold will arrive too late for people who hoped to keep their extremities warm during the Vasa Festival of Races this weekend and the Microbrew & Music Festival, hosted downtown this evening.

Sam Porter, founder and creative director of the Microbrew festival, said attendees should equip themselves with long underwear and warm duds, even though heaters will be present.

“Dress like you live here,” Porter said.

Night-time temperatures through Wednesday could fall below zero with windchill, Rozanski said.

If nothing else, temperatures should start to warm by month’s end, with highs consistently rising above freezing in March.

“From here on out, every day winter’s grip is going to start losing the battle,” Rozanski said.

Now that the winter solstice has passed, the sun is in the sky a bit more each day. Rozanski said northern Michigan gained about 65 minutes of daylight since Jan. 1.

“The battle will be lost because the sun now is just starting to ride that much higher in the sky every day,” Rozanski said.

The sun’s influence is already observable. The once light, flaky snow now frequently falls as rounded beads of snow.

“Instead of it being middle-of-the-winter dark, dry fluffy snow, it’s more like walking on sugar instead of a flake,” Rozanski said.

Northern Michigan residents and visitors can expect occasional snow showers caused by fast-moving clipper systems and boosted by lake-effect snow over the next few days, Rozanski said. Around an inch of snow could accumulate.

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