Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Wednesday

December 4, 2013

Wettest fall on record gives way to abnormal cold

TRAVERSE CITY — Rain, snow and clouds were more than seemingly endless during the three fall months in northwest Michigan — they also were record setting.

Data compiled this week by the National Weather Service in Gaylord shows precipitation collected at Cherry Capital Airport set a new record for the fall months. Observation points across the Grand Traverse region showed above average moisture, but only Traverse City set a record.

A total of 16.19 inches of precipitation fell at the airport between Sept. 1 and Nov. 30, said Tim Locker, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service. There were only eight days during November when the airport weather station didn’t record moisture from the sky.

That rainfall tally beat a record set in 1931 of 15.5 inches and dwarfs the average of 10.23 inches.

“There seemed to be a lot of slow movers (storms) and a southerly flow drawing moisture to the area,” he said.

It’s a record Denny Fasel, owner of AIM Outdoor Services can believe. His business, which specializes in lawn care and other outdoor projects, depends on mild weather during the fall months to complete jobs.

“I can believe we set a record this fall,” he said. “I think it held a lot of people back in the lawn care business. It’s really hard to cut lawns and clean up leaves when it’s that wet. It was just hard to plan anything and you’re always working around the weather.”

Fasel recalls one week when his brother’s 4-inch outdoor rain gauge filled twice in four days.

Traverse City native Fasel, 62, spent the past month getting ready for the snow removal part of his business. A sudden transition to wintry weather in late November caught many by surprise.

“It’s still pretty early,” said Fasel, who already has turned away people looking for plow services. His route will focus on about 20 customers during the winter that forecasters predict will be colder and snowier than recent ones.

It’s weather forecasters expect will reappear during the next week.

“It’s going to feel like the middle of January instead of the middle of December,” said Nick Schwartz, a meteorologist for the Weather Service. “We could be dealing with even colder air into the work week next week.”

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