October 31, 2014

Snow totals highest on record for March

James Kuch
Snow was piled into the middle of Cedar Street in Standish.
By James Kuch
News Editor | news@arenacindependent.com
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ARENAC COUNTY — The winter storm that dumped a foot of snow on Arenac County is the highest two-day snowfall total, on record, for the month of March.

Jeff Halblaub, meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Gaylord said reports from Standish indicate one foot of snow was accumulated between Tuesday, March 22, and Wednesday, March 23.

The previous record for a two-day snowstorm in Arenac County, in March, was 10.5 inches, recorded on March 9 and 10, of 1942.

Halblaub said it is not uncommon for a storm of this magnitude to occur this time of year.

“March is a transition month,” he said. “Winter is changing over to spring and storms are still possible. They don’t happen every year, but they are possible.”

Halblaub said that Arenac County has had a total of 15.9 inches of snowfall this March. The record is 17.7 inches in 1965.

“Right now, this is the third highest total ever recorded,” he said.

For the year, Arenac County has recorded 61.9 inches of snowfall. Halblaub said last year only 17.5 inches of snow fell on the county.

“El Niño was happening in the Pacific Ocean last year,” he said. “That led to a poor winter.”

Besides the low numbers for 2009-10, Halblaub said that more than 60 inches of snow has fallen on Arenac County in three of the last four winters.

Halblaub said that during the storm, heavy, wet snow accumulated first, and was followed by light powdery snow in the evening.

“A lot of times that will happen with a storm like this,” he said. “The heavy, wet snow falls at the front end of the storm, then it is followed by a light and fluffy snow on the back end.”

Halblaub said that the light snow may have caused drifting in the county after it fell and winds picked up. He added that reports from the nearest station in Bay County reported winds peaking at 33 miles per hour.

“The heavier the snow, the less chance there will be drifting situations,” he said. “Sometimes as a (storm) system pulls away, that light snow will fall and may begin to drift.”

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