BY ANGIE JACKSON
TRAVERSE CITY — Expected warm temperatures Tuesday could shatter a nearly century-old mark in northern Lower Michigan.
If the mercury squeaks past the predicted high of 50 degrees, Traverse City will have a new entry for the record books. The last time it was 50 degrees on Jan. 29 was 1914, according to National Weather Service records.
But the break from wintry weather that braced the region last week will be brief, said Tim Locker, a NWS meteorologist from Gaylord.
Rain is forecast through Tuesday evening, and then spring-like conditions will succumb to another round of lake-effect snow. Look for snow showers throughout the week and high temperatures in the upper teens by Thursday, Locker said.
A mix of snow and freezing rain rolled in on Sunday evening and dropped almost 5 inches of wet, heavy snow overnight on Munson Medical Center in Traverse City. The wintery forecast nudged Benzie County Road Commission crews into an early start Monday.
They hit the streets by 6 a.m., said Heather Jamison, road commission manager. Crews prepared for today’s anticipated thaw by opening storm drains so water can leave the road.
“We make sure extra trucks are on the routes to clean up any slop that builds up from the melting material, specifically our gravel roads that do have the ice pack on them,” Jamison added.
Roads may be slippery Wednesday as temperatures are expected to fall to a high near 32 degrees, Locker said.
Thursday will bring a high of 17 degrees and Friday a high of 15.
Then, “We’re definitely in another cold spell,” Locker said.
Three to five inches of snow are expected Wednesday through early Thursday.
For John Bramer, owner of Art’s Auto and Truck Parts in Traverse City, that “opens the floodgates” for business.
The family-owned auto parts company sells and repairs snow plows. After the area gets a dumping, business buzzes with plow repairs for two to five days, and Monday was no exception.
Bramer calls it the “repercussion of the storm.”
“I just say that these snowflakes are little pennies from heaven,” Bramer said with a laugh.
Art’s sells 80 percent of its Wisconsin-made snow plows before a flake ever hits the ground, Bramer said. This time of year the business mostly does repairs, but, “You won’t see them until they use their snow plows, like today,” he said.
Jamison said Benzie County’s road crews also are rejoicing about the snow.
“It gets them back in their element,” she said.