Traverse City Record-Eagle


January 6, 2009

Record amount of snow falls in some areas

MAPLE CITY -- It comes in big, fat flakes and hard, tiny pellets. No matter the form, the snow just keeps coming, and in record or close-to-it levels.

But wait, there's more. Expect an Arctic blast next week that's expected to usher in the winter's coldest temperatures and even more snow.

December brought record snowfall to Leelanau County, and many surrounding areas nearly set records in this winter of the ever-present white stuff. Between 2 and 4 inches of snow is expected today, when the high temperature will be around 30 degrees.

Tonight and Thursday morning will bring heavy lake-effect snow to the tune of 4 or 5 inches west of U.S. 131, said Jim Keysor, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gaylord.

Temperatures on Thursday will remain in the 20s with scattered snow showers. Another heavy lake-effect snow system will develop Friday night and into Saturday. Temperatures will begin to drop into the teens on Sunday, a "teaser" to the Arctic air blast expected to hit the region next week, when it will be a struggle to reach single-digit temperatures, Keysor said.

"When I was a kid, this is what the winters were like," said Harold Feigel, of Maple City, a volunteer NWS weather spotter.

Feigel's measurements added up to 84.8 inches of snow accumulation last month, the most recorded for a Leelanau County locale in December since records began to be kept there in 1959. It beat out the previous record year of 1989.

"For a lot of areas it was among the top five snowiest Decembers for as long as they've been keeping records," Keysor said.

Traverse City witnessed 47.9 inches of snow last month, its second most snowfall for December since 1900, and short of 1985's record 50.8 inches. December in Gaylord had 57.1 inches, also second to 1985's accumulation of 60.5 inches there.

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