TRAVERSE CITY — The slightest mention of the March 2012 snow storm that walloped northern Michigan is enough to make those who lived through it cringe.
The storm began late afternoon on March 2 and dropped heavy, cement-like snow for a 12-hour stretch. Some areas received up to three feet, according to some reports, though Leelanau County’s Maple City logged the area’s highest official snow accumulation for March 3 at 21.7 inches, according to the National Weather Service.
If March roared in like a lion last year, this year’s start to the month will be relatively tame, with no significant snow in the forecast.
“It’s going to be much quieter this weekend,” said Tim Locker, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gaylord.
The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning at 5 p.m. last March 2. A 2012 Record-Eagle article reported as many as 200,000 northern Michigan electricity users lost power that evening. Some remained in the dark for up to 10 days, officials said.
The sudden accumulation came as a shock to Greg Ames of Empire.
“I didn’t think it’d come down in the mad rush that it did,” said Ames, who works at Pleva’s Meat Market in Cedar.
Ames lost power for five days and hunkered down at a neighbor’s home with a generator. A fireplace kept his family warm enough, though Ames would’ve opted for more comfort.
“We had been calling on hotel rooms for a couple days and it was nearly impossible to find a hotel room in the area,” he said.
Honor Motel lost power for a day and a half. When it was back up and running, area residents who were desperate for a toasty room and a hot shower filled the motel, owner Chris Theobald said.
”A lot of folks in the area were out of power for five or six days,” she said. “Folks were just happy. They were happy to have found accommodations, and you don’t know how much electricity and heat is needed until you don’t have it.”