Heat Wave

Matt Larsen, of Traverse City, straightens his kitesurfing foil in the Open Space Monday as Will Chatfield, not pictured, waits to fly the foil again. Larsen said he missed the good ice and snow but was enjoying the breezy, sunny and unseasonably warm weather.

TRAVERSE CITY — Matt Larsen was flying his windsurfing foil in Traverse City’s Open Space Monday, missing the good ice and snow but enjoying the weather.

“We’re at the middle point right here where I can’t be out on the water and snow,” he said. “The ice is kind of slushy, it’s too cold to be in the water and there’s no snow on land. A T-shirt is nice, though.”

Skies were clear and the temperature was 45 degrees as Larsen, of Traverse City, steered the foil — that’s about 12 degrees above the day’s normal high temperature, according to National Weather Service data.

Temperatures are set to get even warmer Tuesday, said Andy Sullivan, a meteorologist at National Weather Service’s Gaylord office. Traverse City should see high temperatures in the low to mid-50s, compared to a normal of 34. The air should cool down to the upper 30s as the week progresses, but still stay warmer than average.

“So it’s going to stay quite a bit above what we usually get,” he said.

Jet streams, narrow bands of strong winds high in the atmosphere, are keeping cold Arctic air in northern Canada, Sullivan said. North America’s west coast, meanwhile, is cool and wet while the east coast is mainly drier and warmer.

The National Weather Service recorded two remarkably warm days in Traverse City during February, Sullivan said. Feb. 20’s high temperature of 58 degrees broke the 1983 record for that date of 57, and Valentine’s Day’s high matched the 1954 record of 49 degrees. Both temperatures were logged at Cherry Capital Airport. Tuesday’s high isn’t expected to beat the date’s record of 65 degrees from 2000.

But February’s monthly average so far is only two degrees warmer than usual, Sullivan said. A cold start to the month helped skew that average down, despite 12 days in a row of warmer-than-usual highs.

That mild trend could reverse by week’s end, Sullivan said.

“There will likely be some Arctic air that will come down here and kind of return us to at least near normal for temperatures,” he said.

Joe and Bobbi Woods said they’re getting ready to make maple syrup at Woods Farm in Rapid City. Joe said Monday they’ve been gathering sap for two days and they already have a few thousand gallons. They were hoping to start boiling it down Monday to start concentrating the sugars in anticipation of getting more sap.

“If we have a decent run tomorrow, we’ll make a lot more syrup tomorrow,” he said.

Sunshine and above-freezing temperatures got the sap flowing on Sunday, Joe Woods said. Cloudy, cooler weather slowed things down Saturday.

But it’s unclear how the current warm-up will impact their season, Joe Woods said. They’ve seen early warm spells before, sometimes earlier than this one.

“It’s kind of all over the board what weather patterns are forming and coming across the upper tier of the U.S.,” he said.

Bobbi Woods said a freeze could shut syrup-making down for a bit until the next warm-up.

Larsen, just before handing the foil off to a friend who joined him in the Open Space, said he’s hoping for more windy weather.

“It’s always changing, so you just take it as it comes,” he said. “It is a little weird in February to get this warm, I will say that.”

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