Ten inches of snowfall reported during Groundhog Day storm



ARENAC COUNTY — Groundhog Day 2011 will be remembered for the snowstorm that dumped snow across the Midwest.

But according to Nick Schwartz, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Gaylord, the winter storm was not an uncommon type of storm for this time of year.

“The size of the storm was not tremendously significant,” he said. “In (Arenac County) there may be multiple storms of that size every year.”

Schwartz said that during the storm, 10 inches of snow accumulated in Sterling. He added that areas surrounding Arenac County recorded similar totals.

The storm began around midnight, according to Schwartz. He said that it began to slowly taper off in the early afternoon.

“Snow accumulated the most between midnight and 7 a.m.,” he said.

Schwartz said during the storm’s peak, wind gusts reached 40 to 45 miles per hour.

“(Arenac County) saw wind gusts reach nearly 45 piles per hour off of Lake Huron at around 3 a.m. and 4 a.m.,” he said. “At midday on, the wind died down to around 35 miles per hour.”

Ed Rohn, emergency management coordinator for Arenac and Iosco counties, said everything went smoothly for emergency management during the storm.

“The good thing about this storm was that everyone knew that it was coming,” he said. “It did not take everyone by surprise, which is a good thing.”

Rohn said that the biggest issues that Arenac County faced during the Groundhog Day storm was the drifting of snow.

“The snow that fell was a light snow,” he said. “We were glad that the snow was not a heavy, wet snow, that could have left a lot of damage in the area. For the most part, the road crews were able to get the main roads clear.”

Rohn added that the storm taking place during the evening was a good thing for area residents.

“The amount of snow that fell was one of the most that I have seen in a long time,” he said. “It was good that people were home already. If this storm had started earlier in the day, we may have had more problems.”

According to Rohn, Emergency Services works with the Arenac County Road Commission to get roads plowed that have residents living on them who may need special assistance.

“There are some people who are shut in and may need things like oxygen (tanks) or other services,” he said. “We did have to clear one road for an ambulance to get through, but it was nothing major.”

According to Rohn the storm resulted in a couple of minor accidents.


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