Traverse City Record-Eagle


February 1, 2014

Snow from south on the way

TRAVERSE CITY — Water droplets from the Gulf of Mexico will make their way to Michigan by way of a low-pressure storm system.

The southern-spawned water won’t remain liquid here, though, and is expected to lead to another two-to-three inch deposit of snow today.

“It’s not a big storm, but why not have a few more inches and keep adding to it?” said Dave Lawrence, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gaylord.

Winter continues to pile it on northern Michigan, where snowfall totals dwarf those posted in recent years.

Maple City, in Leelanau County, tops the local snowfall leader board with 198.9 inches of snow measured by volunteers who report such things to the National Weather Service.

When it comes to snowfall, location is everything.

“Maple City gets lake-effect snow from a lot of wind directions,” Lawrence said. “They stick out on that peninsula there, so they can get from a south wind all the way to a northeast wind. So chances are, usually the wind is blowing from one of those directions.”

Other counties have measured less snowfall. Lawrence said volunteers reported as much as 104.9 inches in Benzie County, 126 inches in Kalkaska County, and 120.2 inches in Grand Traverse County. The Antrim County Road Commission measured 122 inches in Mancelona.

Lawrence acknowledged the snow counts might not be perfect, especially when they’re complicated by drifting snow.

“Measuring snow in northern Michigan is not an exact science; it’s a little bit of an art form,” Lawrence said.

Lake-effect snow is behind the majority of snow this winter, not snow caused by storms. Lake-effect snow tends to be dry and fluffy because it’s blown on land by dry, cold winds coming from Canada, Lawrence said.

A snow system from the south, such as the one expected today, carries damper, heavier snow.

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