"It's Time For The Snowbirds To Return"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Thumb population should be returning to normal soon. It dwindles slowly as fall takes hold. But when winter sets in, especially after the holidays, the snowbirds fill the highways. Some go to Texas, many head for Arizona but the vast majority seek the Florida sun and shoreline.

As spring (as some like to call it) begins, so do the snowbirds begin — arriving that is. Usually it’s just after Easter, which was early this year. By Mother’s Day, the grandmothers in the group just can’t wait to see their grandchildren, so they put a push on. Many roadways are full of cars with Michigan plates headed north to “Pure Michigan.” Ads on TV that herald our state’s beauty have spurred the exodus.

What’s going on in Huron County? I’m trying to make my plans to head north, and every time I check, the weather changes. Last week, I was told you were all enjoying 60-degree weather, and it was sunny. One friend told me she was digging in the dirt cleaning out her flower bed where some of the flowers were poking out of the ground. Another friend said the ice was gone off the lake and the only snow left was along a few snow fences.

The next report I received announced it was 37 degrees and snowing. That melted I was told when temps went to 40 degrees, but then it began sleeting. Evidently Huron County roads became slippery and traffic was slow and backed up at the light in Bad Axe. Well, I had to chuckle a bit about that because I know if four cars are waiting for that light, it’s called a traffic jam.

Just so you get a little perspective, let me tell you what a traffic jam is really like. I had to drive to Miami for a morning appointment. The distance is about 80 miles and it usually takes about an hour and a half. When the traffic report announced roads were backing up, I got an early start — before daybreak. When you head into a metropolis down here, along the five and sometimes six lanes, you never attempt it without first consulting the traffic advisers.

I was lucky to arrive at my destination four hours after I started out and that’s without any wrecks along the way, just traffic. Now that is called a traffic jam!

This year, another driving force sending the snowbirds home is the very hot temperatures (I’m sorry to have to report that fact). When the dial hits 90 and fierce storms with heavy rains arrive, it’s time to pack up. In the past few days, an area we frequently visit (that we actually drove right through), was experiencing a devastating wildfire. It scorched thousands of acres and produced thick smoke that closed some roadways. Winds blew through at 70 mph, but fortunately torrential rains arrived that helped to put the fire down.

Heavy rainstorms are common this time of year in South Florida, and sometimes they do help as was the case noted. Lightning strikes that accompany the storms often ignite fires however and that is always a grave concern.

We are very interested in heading home but when we talk to people in Huron County who report, “It’s snowing.” Well that sure does not sound inviting but let’s hope it does not last long. We are expecting to hear from Casey any day now with the report of three days of 60-plus degree weather.

Our flower garden we plant down here has turned into dinner for a large family of iguanas. They are cute little green lizards with long tails who chomp down all flowers and greenery in their path. We checked with a pet store about how to deter them and were told, “Sprinkle cajun pepper in your garden.” Well, the whole area stinks to high heaven and we believe that pepper is their favorite seasoning because we have more sightings.



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