What Makes Michigan Winter Great – 2 Meteorologists Chime In

During winter in Michigan, nearly anything is possible. From dense blankets of snow to unseasonably warm temperatures, Michiganders and seasonal visitors alike have seen it all. And while many prefer warmer weather, two Michigan meteorologists share what makes the winter season special, and why they love forecasting in the Great Lakes state.

Photo Courtesy of Instagrammer (at)tbulman01

Photo Courtesy of Instagrammer (at)tbulman01

Karroll Bohnak – WLUC-TV

Growing up as a snow fanatic in Milwaukee, one of my favorite winter activities was to watch the snowstorms come during the peak of winter.

This love affair with snow brought many bitter disappointments however because most of winter storms dump the heaviest snow northwest of Milwaukee.  In fact, in my youth, one of the biggest snowstorms in history buried Chicago, 90 miles to the south!

To remedy this lack of consistent blizzards, I took my first broadcasting job in northern New England where I was able to experience plenty of snow.  However, I missed the Midwest.  I went back home and worked at various radio stations and finally attended the University of Wisconsin to study meteorology before eventually landing a job at a local TV station in Milwaukee.  The problem was the snow situation still frustrated me because the snowstorms continued to regularly pass to the north.

I eventually came up with the ultimate solution—move north to the beautiful Upper Peninsula. It has the forests and rugged country that I yearned for and a substantial shoreline along the one of the largest inland lakes in the world — Lake Superior.  Plus where I live, there is usually plenty of snow.

Since 1988, I have been able to call Marquette home and tracked nearly every wave of weather imaginable. I’ve experienced some amazing winters, beautiful summers and a place that is rich in history.  Another bonus is  it’s inhabited by some of the nicest people you’ll ever want to meet.

Photo Courtesy of Andy Peninger

Photo Courtesy of Andy Peninger

Chris Easlick – WNEM-TV

Since February of 1992, I’ve called Michigan home.

As a state with four legitimate seasons, you get to experience the special characteristics that make up the year. The sounds of spring with the return of the American robin are refreshing, the colors of fall are breathtaking and the summers on the Great Lakes and many inland lakes could not possibly be duplicated.

But the winter in Michigan is a different world within itself.

The Great Lakes are the ultimate meteorological forecasting challenge, especially during the winter months. Growing up in West Michigan, I witnessed the aura of lake-effect snow firsthand. Westerly winds blowing across the big body of water that is Lake Michigan can sometimes dump feet of snow on the state’s west side when initial forecasts appeared to calling for 6 inches.

As a kid, this meant school closings, the best possible news you could receive at 5 a.m. And despite the challenges that come with a significant snowfall, such as shoveling your driveway, the activities that come with it are well worth the trouble.

The trees after a coating of fresh snow are a sight that is truly gorgeous. The ground first thing in the morning is also untouched and looks perfect. But those are just the first sights before a day of fun.

In the winter, a heavy snowfall means it’s a great weekend to gas up the snowmobile, or a great day to witness the power of the Great Lakes as the strong winds known as the Witch of November create stunning wave shows along the coasts.

Although the stories can be intimidating, the great state of Michigan is a true wonderland during the winter months. Dress warmly and get prepared for an unforgettable experience – wintertime in Pure Michigan.

What do you love most about winter in Michigan? Share with us below!

Bohnak_Karl010 (2)Karroll Bohnak has been the main man in the WLUC-TV6 Marquette Weather Center since 1988.  His interests led him to a career in broadcasting and later to his passion, weather.  To that end he studied meteorology at the University of Wisconsin while he worked as a weekend meteorologist at a local affiliate in Madison beginning in 1983.  An interest in history spurred him on to write a book about weather and history of the Upper Peninsula.  The book, “So Cold a Sky, Upper Michigan Weather Stories” was awarded a Michigan Notable Books designation in 2007.


Chris EaslickChris Easlick is a meteorologist on WNEM-TV’s First Warn 5 weather team in Saginaw. He is a lifetime Michigander, born and raised in Battle Creek. Chris obtained his bachelor’s degree in meteorology from Central Michigan University. At his current position, Chris is faced with new forecasting challenges and impacts of Lake Huron. Accepting this challenge, he is driven to provide the most accurate and helpful forecasts to the residents and tourists who tune in. Whether it’s ice fishing on Houghton Lake, a child wanting to go sledding in Caro, or a tourist checking out the Tawas Point Lighthouse, Chris wants to spread the joy of Pure Michigan. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

Six Unbelievable Close-Up Snowflakes That Reveal the Magic of Winter

When the first flakes start to fall, we look forward to hitting the slopes, making snow angels and revving the engines of our snowmobiles. Fresh snow gives us the chance to head outside and take in the magic of winter. And while this year’s winter has started out mild, we’re anxiously awaiting the next big snowfall.

So, the next time you’re out enjoying a snow day, grab your camera and get up-close with what makes Pure Michigan a winter wonderland – snowflakes! Photographer Joshua Nowicki shares his tips for photographing these one-of-a-kind beauties. 

dsc_2412 snowflake photo by Joshua Nowicki

As the snow accumulates over the winter months, it is easy to lose appreciation for the beauty of winter.  As the snow builds layer after layer, I find it therapeutic to take a closer look and enjoy the wonders of a single snowflake.

A little over a year ago, I received gift of a +1, +2, +4 set of close-up macro filters to use on a lens for my camera.  It was snowing that day, and almost immediately, I was outside trying to take photos of snowflakes.  I searched for snowflakes lying on leaves, pine needles, windshields anywhere I could find them isolated or on a dark background.  I was spending a lot of time searching for individual snowflakes and not much time taking photos.  So, I decided that I needed to find a better way to capture my subject.  I tried a variety of different materials to catch snowflakes on, and found that I had the best luck using an old blue stocking cap.  The snowflakes land at angles propped up by the frayed fibers of the stocking cap, and this provides a little separation from the rest of the material.

The macro filters gave me a closer view of the snow than I had ever seen before; but I wanted to get closer.  I was using the macro filters on an 18-55mm lens, and then, I switched to trying them on a 55-200mm lens.  This worked reasonably well, but I felt like I was getting too much distortion in the images that I took.  So, I kept searching for another way.  I could not justify the cost of a macro lens, therefore I kept experimenting.  I finally decided upon using electrical tape to attach one lens backward in front of another lens.  My favorite combination is currently a 55-200mm lens with a 50mm lens.  For lighting the snowflakes, I use an external camera flash and flashlight.  It is not a beautiful set up, but it is an effective one.

The level of magnification that this has allowed me has been astounding.  Details that I never thought I would be able to see in person, I could now photograph.  I have been amazed by the variety of shapes of snowflakes and dazzled by the intricate and delicate detail of each individual snowflake.  As the weather and temperature change, the shapes and sizes of the snowflakes also change.  Two of my favorite snowflake shapes are sectored plates and stellar dendrites.

Every time it snows, I find myself running outside to see what the snowflakes look like. Frequently, I have had to explain to neighbors and people passing by why I am sitting in the snow taking close up photos of my stocking cap.  Many of them chuckled until I showed them the photos I was taking. The next time it snows, before you grab your shovel, take a moment to sit in the snow with a camera or magnifying glass and enjoy one of the true marvels of winter. See their beauty below.

dsc_3080 snowflake photo by Joshua Nowicki

dsc_3063 snowflake photo by Joshua Nowicki

dsc_2820 snowflake photo by Joshua Nowicki

dsc_2270 snowflake photo by Joshua Nowicki

dsc_0291 snowflake photo by Joshua Nowicki

What’s your favorite way to spend a snow day? Share your photos enjoying the snow using #PureMichiganSnowDay on Twitter and Instagram or visit michigan.org/snowday.

Joshua_NowickiJoshua Nowicki is a St. Joseph, Michigan based photographer specializing in landscape, nature, architecture, and food photography.  His photos can be viewed online on Facebook or his website

From Our Fans: The Ultimate Way to Spend a Pure Michigan Snow Day

Winter in Pure Michigan means plenty of snow and plenty of chances to bundle up and get outside with the ones we love. As we prepare for the snowy season ahead, our fans shared a few of their favorite ways to spend a snow day in Pure Michigan.

Use these suggestions and plan ahead for the next time Mother Nature transforms our state into a glistening winter wonderland. For more on planning a Pure Michigan winter outing, visit michigan.org/snowday.

Photo courtesy of Facebook Fan Chris Campo

Photo courtesy of Facebook Fan Chris Campo

Grab some coffee and a good breakfast, shovel the driveway, and get out and enjoy the snow! – Twitter user  ‏@Randomhero180

We go to Mackinaw and play in the snow by the bridge. Its a 3 hour drive, but it’s so fun. – Brent Mowry

Dress warm and drink lots of warm beverages. – Deborah L. Sorgen

Start the day off with a morning skate at a outdoor rink, snowball fights with the street, hitting the slopes in the evening. – Twitter user @Mike_Carlson23

Building snowmen with my grandkids. – Rhonda McClain

Playing with the kids building a snowman, having snowball fight or building a snow fort. – Twitter user @FShawnoo

Photo courtesy of Todd Schloegel

Photo courtesy of Todd Schloegel

Sledding through the Upper Peninsula. – James Clymer

Ideal snow day: Bundling up & going outside to snowshoe, ice skate, snowboard, or go ice fishing – or all! – Twitter user @stefherder 

Walking in the quiet woods. It’s peaceful and beautiful. – Julie Burr Bryan

Snowshoe + home brew; Michigan winter combo! – Ben Nighswonger

Drinking Michigan craft beer in any of many locations in the state. – Twitter user @jaw325

Walking the pier in St. Joseph and having hot cocoa at the Chocolate Cafe after! – Briana Herzog

Photo courtesy of Facebook Fan Katrina Wright-Rayhill

Photo courtesy of Facebook Fan Katrina Wright-Rayhill

Go outdoors! Snowball fights, forts, tubing/sledding, snowboarding/skiing, and then dry out/warm up while reading by the fire. – Twitter user @MegDaLibrarian

As I recall, the ultimate way to spend a snowy day was to bundle up around the fire with hot cocoa and toasted marshmallows listening to some great music. - Frances Resseguie Richardson

The ultimate way to spend a snow day in Michigan = Snowshoeing with family on the amazingly scenic Pure Michigan trails! – Twitter user @Ciesla504

Spending it with FAMILY- the more, the merrier! No matter what you’re doing or where you are! – Twitter user @rychepet

What’s your favorite way to spend a snow day? Share your photos enjoying the snow using #PureMichiganSnowDay on Twitter and Instagram!