Benzie Snow Blast
Updated: Feb 15
HERE IT IS FEBRUARY 4TH and we finally have an official winter storm warning issued for Benzie County by the Gaylord NWS reporting station. I believe this is the second one this winter.
The first was back in December and it didn’t amount to a hill of beans. The snow skipped over us and headed inland. The problem with being on the leeward side of Lake Michigan are the multiple forces that come into play that produce the weather and simply leads to inaccurate forecasts. The big lake itself decides when it will be a doozy. I guess this new one has the potential for snow as we are experiencing lots of open water this winter. If this sounds like a bit of a hedge on my part, so be it, it is not my normal behavior to protect and defend the weathermen.
The TV forecasters seem always to promote the drama of it all by demonstrating a fondness for imminent danger and predicting the absolute worst possible scenario. Their lack of accuracy is legendary in NW lower Michigan. And never will they report the next day that they missed the mark. They all seem so sincere which is all part of their shtick.
The National Weather Service’s approach is in stark contrast to that of TV forecasters. Their messages are rather serious. They deliver the watch, or warning, with an automated voice that reminds me of a couple of my high school teachers whose flat inflections may well have been the prototype for these robotic synthesizers. If the NWS ever had to issue a real emergency wouldn’t it be fun to switch to a live hysterical woman’s voice? That would crack me up. I guess it is not in their immediate plans, nor do I think I will suggest it to them in a friendly email. We will live with the boring computer voice.
Here it is day two. A total of twelve inches of snow covered the village last night. My iPhone app shows snow flurry symbols every hour over the coming night and the wind seems to also be picking up speed.
The guy who does my driveway told me that there were 45 mph gusts last night in Frankfort. At that velocity the snow and sand at the harbor parking lot work together to force you to remain in your car. I have experienced this where the particulate assault on your face stings your eyes and face and is a reminder of the unrelenting power that the big lake can muster.
I will shovel my steps and brush off the snow from my car that will leave little doubt of the first night’s accumulation. I suspect that the notorious “lake effect” conditions in the forecaster’s warning did not materialize as there are only cloudy gray skies. Not even flurries are around.
But you never know.
This time the forecasters were close in their predictions. They said 8-10 inches and we clearly have more on the ground. Kudos are in order.
The temperature plunged to 2 F during the night and delivered a new round of snow and howling winds. My loft's windows whined and guaranteed me a rather restless night. It was the deep resonance of the plows clearing snow at 5 AM that tipped me off to what might have occurred during the night. Sure enough, the daylight revealed mounds of snow that had reached over four feet around my car. I wasn’t sure if my imagination was entangled in some sleepy dream. My first clear thoughts had me wishing I had a garage and then they quickly moved to thanking God for the new coffee-maker down on my counter. I had no idea we would be picking up twelve inches of fresh snow. But we most certainly did.
The sounds in my loft continued. This storm is now into its third full day. We received an additional ten inches of new snow. It is amazing how the forecasters could have missed this system that is dumping record volumes of precipitation.
My goodness, we have a good forty inches of accumulation.
My thought this morning is that Lake Michigan knows the truth and she simply decided that there was no one she needed to answer to. Maybe, today, the TV personalities will finally admit they missed the call.
This storm has been a doozy.
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The truth is we received six inches of snow four days ago. Nothing since.