Traverse City Record-Eagle

November 19, 2013

Weekend storm causes power outages, high water levels in Traverse City region

Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — TRAVERSE CITY — More than 80 tornadoes swept across the Midwest during a deadly, destructive weekend, and though the Grand Traverse region largely escaped the onslaught, rapidly changing weather nonetheless left its mark here.

Storms brought high winds that reached 46 mph and deposited between 2 and 3 inches of rain in the region.

Temperatures reached a balmy 64 degrees on Sunday, but fell to the 30s on Monday.

“That’s normal, this up and down,” said Mike Boguth, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Gaylord.

Boguth said that locals can expect to see such roller coaster weather patterns throughout the rest of the month. Temperatures should warm again to the 40s on Wednesday and Thursday before dropping over the weekend. Boguth predicted the coldest air on Sunday, when the high likely will be in the 20s.

Weekend precipitation caused Antrim County officials to issue a high-water-level alert. Water along the Chain of Lakes hasn’t caused major damage yet, but lake levels on Intermediate Lake near Bellaire climbed 3.5 inches overnight.

“This is essentially a cautionary alert to the folks that have property on the water, asking them to be aware, and we’d like them to take measures if they can to protect their property,” said Mark Stone, the operator of dams for Antrim County.

Stone said lake levels already hit a record high two weeks ago, after waters from a record wet April never returned to normal.

“We went into fall with pretty saturated soils,” Stone said. “As rain started in October, there was really no holding capacity for that water to soak into the ground.”

All the lake water eventually empties into Lake Michigan, but Stone says it’s a long trip through many narrow waterways.

In Grand Traverse County, two flights in and out of Cherry Capital Airport were cancelled Sunday afternoon because of weather in Chicago, said airport executive director Kevin Klein.

“We did overall quite well with the amount of weather through the Midwest,” Klein said.

High wind speeds over the weekend also left thousands without power. Great Lakes Energy Communications Director Dave Guzniczak said about 3,500 customers in Antrim and Kalkaska counties lost power during the storm, and around 500 Consumers Energy customers in the five-county area also lost electricity.

The closest tornado touched down in Otsego County, northeast of Traverse City.