Traverse City Record-Eagle


January 28, 2014

Area struggles to keep up with winter weather

TRAVERSE CITY — Maybe it’s a bit too much to say the snow seems to be piled sky high, but it is heaped higher than pickup trucks on Fox Road near Bartlett Lake in Buckley.

“This morning, it’s like we got caught right in the eye of the new polar vortex,” said Joe Schichtel, owner of Schichtel Nursery & Vineyard on Fox Road. “It’s like a nuclear snowstorm.”

Schichtel estimates the snowbanks on the corner of Fox Road were among the tallest in the county, and the Grand Traverse Road Commission had to send a V-plow to try to clear roads in the area.

“It is remarkably reminiscent of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s when we used to get a hell of a winter,” Schichtel said.

Another gust of arctic air accompanied by snow pushed Traverse City past the 100 inches of snowfall mark, according to National Weather Service estimates.

Others believe snowfall totals long ago cruised past that level. Grand Traverse County Road Commission officials said they’ve measured 142 inches of snow thus far this winter season.

Traverse City residents can expect another five to seven inches of snow from Monday through Wednesday morning, and temperatures won’t reach double digits until Thursday, said Tim Locker, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Gaylord.

“It’s colder than average; it’s just not record setting,” Locker said.

Cold weather and poor road conditions caused Traverse City Area Public Schools and others to close on Friday and Monday.

Monday marked TCAPS sixth weather-related cancellation, and any more snow days could result in additional school days in June. By Monday afternoon district officials decided to cancel Tuesday classes, as well.

“It’s not good for students to be away from their classmates,” said Rob Hansen, the head of the Pathfinder School in Leelanau County, which has also had six snow days. “Teachers are very set back by snow days. We do our best to send assignments home and communicate online, but nothing can replace that social dynamic in the classroom.”

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