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.
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.
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!
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 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.