Traverse City Record-Eagle

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January 23, 2014

No break from cold in sight

TRAVERSE CITY — Traverse area residents will get no significant break from the cold over the next several days.

Temperatures will top the 20s on Friday, but wind gusts of up to 30 miles per hour will keep temperatures in frigid territory.

“We’re going to have another brutally cold day and overnight where temperatures are between 0 and 10 below,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Keith Berger, who’s based in Gaylord.

Yet another cold front will sweep through on Saturday, keeping temperatures in the single digits and teens.

“It’s just another chunk of arctic air coming down from Canada and settling back over the Great Lakes,” Berger said. “It’ll be windy, gusty, snowy, and more-or-less miserable.”

Sunday’s highs will struggle to reach 12 degrees, Berger said, and by the end of the weekend between 5 and 7 more inches of snow will be on the ground.

Temperatures are a few degrees below average, but they’re not unusual for this time of year.

“The last couple of winters have been extremely mild by comparison, and that’s got us spoiled,” Berger said. “This is an old-fashioned, cold Michigan winter.”

The near-constant snow and plunging temperatures put a strain on Leelanau County’s road salt and sand supply, county Road Commission Superintendent Dave Priest said.

He said trucks hauling 50 tons of salt and sand replenished the road commission’s garages in Suttons Bay and Maple City last week, but the 500-ton piles are dwindling.

“Our sand pile has taken a hit, and our salt pile took a pretty good hit,” he said.

Priest said this week’s streak of sub-20 degree temperatures made road salt ineffective and kept 10-person crews at each garage focused on plowing. He said the snowy weather means plow truck drivers have little choice but to continually pile onto colossal snow banks that risk blocking motorists’ views of intersections.

“Slow down, be more careful, give the plow trucks more room,” Priest said.

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