LAKE LINDEN - The Lake Linden-Hubbell Public Library sponsored a meteorology presentation for Lake Linden-Hubbell Elementary students and members of the public Thursday afternoon. WLUC-TV6 meteorologist Karl Bohnak, who celebrated 25 years at the station on Thursday, gave a presentation on the history of spring in the Upper Peninsula.
Bohnak identified several easy-to-understand signs of spring for the students, including the days getting longer, the sun getting warmer, the temperature rising, the snow melting - although he admitted that process is taking longer than usual this year - and, for himself and other snow fanatics, the occurrence of "spring blues" when the snow does melt for good. Bohnak acknowledged that springtime in the U.P. is not always so straightforward.
"This is one of the most interesting springs we've had," said Bohnak. "In New England they call a spring like this a 'backward spring,' and that's when it's cold and snowy when it should be getting warmer."
Meagan Stilp/Daily Mining Gazette
Meteorologist Karl Bohnak speaks to students at Lake Linden-Hubbell Elementary School Thursday. Bohnak celebrated 25 years at WLUC-TV6 on Thursday.
Bohnak discussed other backward springs in recent and not-so-recent history. In 2003, for example, temperatures throughout the U.P. fell to below zero and a satellite image, which Bohnak presented, showed the majority of Lake Superior still covered in ice. April snow levels in 1996 were similar to those of this year with a total of 44 inches. Most of the heavy snow storms occurred after mid-April of that year, with a whopping 14 inches on the 29th and 30th of April 1996. Teal Lake did not lose its ice until May 18, 1996, according to Bohnak.
That was not the most extreme spring in recorded history.
"Probably one of the most backward springs of all, going back in history, was the spring of 1857," said Bohnak.
During the winter of 1856-1857, measurements in Marquette City showed a snowfall of 327 inches. The historical average, Bohnak said, is 110 inches.
"On May 9, 1857, a snowstorm occurred," Bohnak said. "We'll see if that happens this year. Wouldn't that be great?"
The young audience responded with a resounding chorus of "No!"
Bohnak also discussed some of the warmest springs the U.P. has experienced, including the spring of 2012 and the spring of 1857-1858, the year following one of the coldest springs in history. Arguably the warmest spring in recorded history came around just a few years later in 1877-78, when in January butterflies flew and lilac bushes allegedly bloomed in L'Anse.
After his presentation Bohnak took questions from the audience on topics ranging from his professional history to his opinion on global climate change.