Traverse City Record-Eagle

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April 2, 2013

Some see silver linings in late-season snow clouds

TRAVERSE CITY — Don’t expect Old Man Winter to leave northern Michigan until mid-April.

Up to 7 inches of lake effect snow fell across parts of the Grand Traverse region over Easter Sunday into Monday. Tim Locker, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said more snow is possible today and colder temperatures could persist until the second half of April.

“Right now there’s no indication whatsoever of warm weather,” he said. “The jet stream needs to start being more north of us.”

That’s bad news for who long for warm weather, but others take a different view.

Julie Sovereign has owned Garden Goods, a Garfield Township retail garden center, with her husband for nearly two decades. She said the area’s average frost-free date is around Memorial Day but can vary significantly.

“After 19 years we’ve seen (the weather) do all kinds of things up and down,” she said. “This is more on the typical side. It should be a little warmer, but people are not out planting in their yard the first of April.”

Sovereign stressed patience for people “anxious” to see a touch of green in their home gardens. She’s holding off nursery shipments until the weather warms, but said a later start can be good for business.

“In the long run it’s best for established plants to stay dormant rather than have wild fluctuations in temperature,” she said. “It’s a delayed gratification.”

Marijane Boomer, co-owner of Still Point Farms in Empire, is fine with the frigid outlook. She said her farm’s fruit trees and 3,000 maple syrup taps would benefit from a late spring start.

“We’re sorry because we know there’s a lot of people who want the spring weather to come and quickly,” she said. “But they got their turn last year.”

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