Source: Sherman Publications

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Winter? Not so much

by David Fleet

December 21, 2011

Tim Tyler, manager of Ace Hardware in Ortonville, is still selling snowblowers despite lack of snow.
Did winter really officially arrive on Wednesday? No snow to ski, no ice on the lakes to fish, and many snowblowers unused since last March.

With area temperatures more spring like than late December like, many locals are asking, where's winter?

The Old Farmers Almanac is predicting it will be around the week of Jan. 8, 2012 before winter returns.

"Then look out," said Rich Pollman meteorologist with the National Weather Service in White Lake Township.

"Temperatures are expected to remain in the mid 20s-to low 40s through Christmas—not sure we'll get the 12 inches of snow normal for December. Don't forget November was the fifth warmest November in history. But look out for the later months in the winter. Late January and February could be colder and snowy."

Not soon enough for at least one local business.

Last year Mt. Holly Ski Resort opened for the season on Nov. 27. However, skiers and snowboarders who took to the slopes just after Thanksgiving last year will have to wait for weather conditions to cooperate. Mt. Holly needed the right temperatures to make snow and despite an attempt earlier this month, sufficient cold weather just has not existed. General Manager Mark Tibbitts did not return phone calls on Wednesday.

The early warm winter has had minimal impact on other local businesses.

"This weather has not been the best for plowing snow," said Mario Juarez, owner of M.J. Lawn Service, who plows snow for residents and businesses in the Ortonville area. "However, many of my customers are on a year contract, so I get paid whether it snows or not. The companies that have a lot of overhead will really get hurt this year. I like the snow, but you can't make it snow. Business would be better if we'd get some."

The hardware business has also been impacted by the lack of snow.

"By Christmas last year we had sold more than 10,000 bags of salt," said Tim Tyler, manager of Ace Hardware, 440 N. Ortonville Road, Ortonville. "Snow shovels are still selling pretty good. Business is good here."