winter

Stateside
5:54 pm
Mon October 6, 2014

Salt price spike hits county budgets hard

Salt trucks
Credit Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

Advance word from forecasters: This winter could be a replay of the not-to-be-forgotten winter of 2013-2014.

That is not good news for counties still reeling from the costs of clearing record amounts of snow from the roads.

Roy Townsend, Managing Director of the Washtenaw County Road Commission, says the brutal winter last year cost the county nearly $1 million more than what a typical winter would cost. That's between the increased salt price, overtime pay for staff, and extra wear and tear on the equipment. 

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Stateside
5:48 pm
Mon October 6, 2014

Michigan's wine grapes will survive another rough winter, experts say

Credit user farlane / flickr

The rough winter of 2013-2014 was not kind to Michigan grapes.

And we're going to see that in the wine grape crop this year.

Linda Jones is executive director at Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council. Jones projects a 50% reduction in wine output due to the harsh winter. 

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The Environment Report
10:27 am
Tue September 23, 2014

Report says milder winters in U.P. are affecting forests

A trail to Rainbow Falls along the Black River Scenic Byway in the Western U.P. Winters in the U.P. are changing, and that means conditions are becoming better for some species and worse for others.
Credit user:yooperann / Flickr

The U.S. Forest Service has put out a report on how our warming climate is affecting forests in the U.P.

Stephen Handler is a climate change specialist with the Forest Service. He says, over the past several decades, we’ve been getting more extreme rainstorms in the region.

“So, more rain of two inches at a time, three inches at a time; and we’re seeing our winters, which is our characteristic climatic feature, shrinking, so, getting shorter and getting more variable, or getting less consistent snowpack,” he says.

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Transportation
3:18 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Local and state road agencies deal with spike in salt prices

Credit LisaW123 / Flickr

This story was updated at 8:07 on 8/28/14.

Winter weather is still a few months away – we hope – but road agencies are already preparing for the season.

And they're dealing with a spike in salt prices. The statewide average for road salt is about $66 per ton. That's up nearly 50% from last year.

Michigan's County Road Association says high demand from last winter means vendors haven't been able to adequately restock.

Ed Noyola is the association's deputy director.

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Environment & Science
4:44 pm
Mon May 5, 2014

Harsh winter may have damaging effects on pine trees

Michigan's harsh winter may have had damaging effects on our pine trees.
Credit user: Njaelkies Lea / Wikimedia Commons

If you've been wondering why your favorite pine tree has been turning brown as the weather warms up, you can stop wondering and start blaming winter.

Bert Cregg is an associate professor in the horticulture department at Michigan State University. He joined us to explain what the snow, cold and wind has done to our conifer trees. 

Listen to the full interview above. 

The Environment Report
11:13 am
Thu April 10, 2014

There could be bad news for Michigan fruit crops; grapevines might have suffered the most

The long, cold winter may have damaged Michigan grapevines.
Credit user: Phil Roeder / Flickr

Farmers are finally able to head out into their fields, orchards and vineyards to see how everything fared over the winter. 

Ken Nye is a commodities specialist with the Michigan Farm Bureau. 

He's expecting a lot of damage to Michigan fruits. 

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Weather
6:00 am
Thu March 20, 2014

Snowmen beware, it's the first day of spring

Since 1971, Lake Superior State University has marked the first day of spring by setting fire to a paper snowman.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

UPDATE: Proving that Mother Nature loves a good joke, the burning of the snowman has been postponed until Friday because of snow and high winds. No, seriously.

Today is the first day of spring.

Since 1971, Lake Superior State University has marked the first day of spring by setting fire to a paper snowman.

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Politics & Government
11:19 am
Tue March 11, 2014

Compromise on emergency road funding to be announced this afternoon

The supplement funding bill is expected to include $200 million for local road agencies. Brutal winter weather has drained county and city road budgets.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

State lawmakers will roll out a deal this afternoon on a spending package to fix Michigan’s pothole-filled roads.

The supplement funding bill is expected to include $200 million for local road agencies. Brutal winter weather has drained county and city road budgets.

State House Speaker Jase Bolger declined to give specifics about the compromise road bill this morning, except to say it will address the state’s immediate road problems.

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Offbeat
11:08 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Intense ice coverage leads to dramatic animal rescues

Jodi Benchich (right), owner of the lost dog rescued by the Coast Guard on Monday, and Michelle Heyza, founder of A Rejoyceful Rescue, are all smiles during their time with KC at Wilson Veterinary Hospital, March 5, 2014. The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Bristol Bay rescued the dog four miles from shore during ice-breaking operations Monday afternoon on Lake St. Clair.
Credit Kim Gordus / U.S. Coast Guard

Update: 11:08 a.m., March 7, 2014

The 14-year-old pup we wrote about earlier in the week was reunited with its owner (woman on the right):

From the Coast Guard's press release:

Jodi Benchich of St. Clair Shores, Mich., visited with her 14-year-old pet “KC” at the Wilson Veterinary Hospital before taking him back home. The dog sustained frostbite on his paws and also lost a significant amount of weight during the time he was lost.

"KC is happy to be back home and is eating everything we give him," said a very happy Benchich. "We're forever grateful to the Coast Guard and hope to be able to thank the crew in person sometime soon."

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Business
11:17 am
Thu February 27, 2014

Michigan's winter weather also chilling business

46% of Michigan retailers report their sales were down last month, compared to January 2013. Only 30% said their cash registers were busier.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

The brutal winter weather is taking a toll on Michigan retailers.

A major ice storm just before Christmas resulted in poor overall holiday season sales for many Michigan stores.

The brutally cold January that followed was just as bad, according to a new report by the Michigan Retailers Association, which says 46% of retailers report their sales were down last month, compared to January 2013. Only 30% said their cash registers were busier.

The gloom created by slow sales may carry over into the rest of the year.

Weather
5:09 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Think winter was tough for you? Try being a dairy farmer

What is farm life like during the winter?
user: frizz-art Deviant Art

We've all had plenty to grumble about as this long, cold, snowy winter drags on: sidewalks and driveways to shovel, grueling, slow freeway commutes.

But let's take a moment to try on winter from the perspective of the hard-working Michigan dairy farmer. Winter has a whole different feel when you're hauling yourself out to the barn to milk and feed your herd. 

Karen Curry, a dairy farmer near East Tawas, knows this life very well. She joins us today to tell us how she's coping with this brutal winter weather. 

Listen to the full interview above.

Health
5:08 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Fewer Michigan kids getting vaccinated

Fewer Michigan families are getting their children vaccinated.
user mconnors morgueFile

Winter doesn't just mean freezing temperatures  – it's also a time when we are more likely to get sick. Which leads us to our next question: Do you vaccinate your kids?

It seems for more and more Michigan parents, the answer is no. 

When it comes to kids not getting vaccinated because their parents claim some personal or religious exemption, Michigan ranks number four in the nation. 

But resistance to vaccinations didn't just start with Jenny McCarthy or the study by British doctor Andrew Wakefield that alleged a link between vaccines and autism – a study that has since been discredited as being based on faulty science. 

It goes back long before that.

Gender and medical historian Jacqueline Antonovich has studied and written about the history of our relationship with vaccinations. 

Antonovich recently wrote in the blog nursingclio.org about this topic, and it was pretty personal for her, as someone who has had whooping cough.

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Weather
11:08 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Gov. Snyder warns Michigan to get ready for new round of weather troubles

Snow, rain, and freezing rain are all part of the forecast for the Lower Peninsula, and the Upper Peninsula could be in for a blizzard.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

A new round of harsh winter weather is on the way. Snow, rain, and freezing rain are all part of the forecast for the Lower Peninsula, and the Upper Peninsula could be in for a blizzard.

Dealing with this year’s record and near-record cold and snow is already busting budgets as overtime, equipment, and supply costs are going higher than planned.

“This is a record winter in terms of cold, snow and we still have more to come,” said Gov. Rick Snyder.  

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Weather
3:26 pm
Sat February 15, 2014

As the ice and snow melts, we'll find out what lies beneath

When a late December ice storm ripped through mid-Michigan, falling tree branches knocked out power to tens of thousands of homes in Lansing. The power’s back on, but many of the tree branches remain buried by the snow that has fallen since.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

Temperatures are expected to hit 40 degrees in the coming week in Michigan.

The warm up should begin to melt off some of the snow that has built up over the past few months.

But the melting snow is also expected to reveal mounds of fallen tree branches, discarded Christmas trees and garbage that has been entombed in mounds of snow and ice since December.

Paul Dykema is the assistant superintendent in the city of Lansing’s Public Service Department.  He says cleaning that mess up will take some time.

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Weather
6:12 am
Fri February 14, 2014

Harsh winter taking a toll on Michigan wildlife

A DNR official says the next few weeks may be especially critical to Michigan’s songbirds, pheasants, and turkeys.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

Michigan wildlife is struggling this winter, just like the state’s human population.

State wildlife officials say the next few weeks will be critical for Michigan deer, pheasants, and other animals.

As the days grow longer, animals become more active. Their metabolisms pick up and they need to forage for more food.

But when the snow is several feet deep, and a layer of ice coats normal food sources, finding enough food can be a problem.

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Weather
1:21 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Michigan utility crews waiting to be called to help restore power in the south and northeast

Linemen worked for more than a week to restore power to tens of thousands of Michiganders during the holidays.
Consumers Energy

Consumers Energy and DTE are waiting to hear from electric utilities in the south and east that are bearing the brunt of a strong winter storm this week.

Tens of thousands of people in the Deep South have already lost power from the storm that is raining down large amounts of ice and snow in places that rarely see either.

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Weather
5:09 pm
Sun February 2, 2014

Michigan woodchuck predicts 6 more weeks of winter

Woody the Woodchuck stayed put in her home at the Howell Conference and Nature Center on Sunday morning, taken to mean there won't be an early end to the state's cold, white winter.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

HOWELL, Mich. (AP) - Michigan's weather-prognosticating woodchuck has called for six more weeks of winter.

The Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News report that Woody stayed put in her home at the Howell Conference and Nature Center on Sunday morning, taken to mean there won't be an early end to the state's cold, white winter.

Nature center Executive Director Dick Grant tells the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus that Woody is 11-4 in weather predictions.

Economy
2:59 pm
Sun February 2, 2014

Michigan officials processing home heating credits

The weather outside continues to be frightful for parts of Michigan even after some areas experienced their snowiest Januaries.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - State officials say they are processing credits to help low-income customers with their winter energy bills.

The Michigan Public Service Commission said this week that state treasury officials have mailed instruction booklets and forms pertaining to the Michigan Home Heating Credits for the 2013 tax year.

The materials also are available online and at many libraries, post offices and Department of Human Services' branch offices.

The average credit for last year was $124.

Weather
11:37 am
Fri January 31, 2014

Think this January's weather was crazy? Check out the U.P.'s blizzard of 1938

As meteorologist Karl Bohnak writes, it's hard to measure just how much snow accumulated in the blizzard of 1938 when snow piled up around utility poles. But we're guessing a lot.
Bill Brinkman NASA

Michigan may be “warming up” (31 degree heat wave, anyone?), but evidence of the latest snowpocalypse is still abundant.  

Over at MLive, meteorologist Mark Torregrossa reports that “mile for mile, Michigan has more snow cover than any other U.S. state.”

And as for ice, the Great Lakes are under the largest ice cover in 20 years. Sixty percent of all five lakes are now iced over.

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Offbeat
11:13 am
Tue January 28, 2014

First 'snow day' in 36 years; University of Michigan students rejoice

U-M student 'Elsa the Snow Queen' reacts to the news.
user kajeburns Twitter

It's similar to a 100-year flood event. It just doesn't happen that often.

So when it does, students celebrate. That's what happened last night when the University of Michigan called off classes for the first time in 36 years. 

The student journalists over at the Michigan Daily collected the best reactions on Twitter to the news.

Here are the best stunned faces, celebratory waffles, and trips to the liquor store:

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