"What Is Up With The Weather?"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Saturday, March 28, 2015

Depending upon where you live and what time of year it is, you could be in the middle of weather changes.

Take the Thumb area for example. The past couple of winters have been extremely cold, with lots of snow. Are the results of these conditions good or bad?

I remember when the snow was plowed and piles were so high you could not see the Port Austin School building as you drove past it on M-53. Those who recall those times may also remember drifts on the road in Kinde sometimes closed the highway south of the flasher.

Many roads were impassable when wind and snow came in off the lake along M-25 at Oak Beach, Tripp Road and east of Huron City. Further south, between Harbor Beach and White Rock, road closures occurred when snow blew in off the higher flatland and dumped on the highway. Heavy equipment had to be brought in to clear the road.

Drifts at intersections were so high, red flags were tied to the top of street signs to indicate where the crossroads were.

Winter in Michigan not only hit the Thumb area, but often crippled the entire state. Many residents just decided to enjoy it. In just about any place in the state, from Rouge Park in Detroit to the Straits of Mackinaw, if there was a hill of any size, kids would be sledding or tobogganing on it.

Every neighborhood had at least one ice rink where kids and their families would enjoy skating together. Some people just turned the hose on and made a skating rink in their yards.

Winters were a season most people in Michigan looked forward to. Some communities had lighted rinks and hills and a food stand where hot dogs, coffee and hot chocolate were sold. Bonfires were often lit to warm up a shivering crowd.

When the cold set in enough to freeze the lakes, ice shanties and tip-up’s could be spotted on most bodies of ice bigger than a puddle. Ice fishing contests and winter carnivals were held. Shanty Days in Caseville is a combination of both.

Ice fishing is still very popular throughout the state. Sturgeon fishing on Hubbard Lake, tip-up fishing for Pike on the west side of Saginaw Bay, and many opportunities on inland lakes. In the past, Perch were caught by the bucket full throughout the Thumb ports. Talk about a fresh fish dinner — anglers would toss their catch on the ice where they froze quickly. After gathering them up and arriving home, they were placed in a tub of water where they began swimming around until cleaned and placed in the frying pan. Add some fried potatoes, and you had a meal that could not be beat.

As talk of climate change continues to be headline news, new questions come to mind. When the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan over four years ago, many scientist claimed an unusual phenomenon occurred. They claimed the earth shifted on its axis.

If this were true, could that be responsible for the many weather changes that have followed that event? Although water levels on the Great Lakes have been restored thanks to the severe winters of the past two years, southwestern areas of the country are staggering under continuing drought conditions.

These abundant and lack-of-water conditions are joined by reports of high water levels on the Atlantic coast. Throughout the southeast, ocean waterfront properties are being affected and popular destination areas such as Miami Beach and the Florida Keys are being threatened.

As I see it, concerns about climate change have done little more than make a few people rich. Development in southeast areas continues unabated. High-rise buildings are being built at record numbers — some being erected on top of existing ones. In the southwest, where water is a precious commodity, sprinklers run continuously in affluent neighborhoods and golf courses are well irrigated. There are no water restrictions in spite of reports that aqueduct water levels are diminishing.

Are the water problems and severe weather conditions the result of global warming? The earth moving on its axis? The destruction of the ozone layer? Or perhaps yet another unknown cause. We may have to just hope Mother Nature will fix it because we are not in any hurry to do so ourselves.



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