HANCOCK - It's been six-and-a-half months since there's been weather this warm, and Copper Country residents soaked it in Memorial Day weekend. The summer solstice, the official first day of summer, may not be until June 21, but people kicked off the season with graduation parties, gardening, garage sales and visiting a crowded Hancock Beach on Monday, where several braved the jump off the pier into frigid Portage Canal water.
"If it's sunny, we're going to be outside," said Mark Madsen, who vowed to take advantage of every ray of sunlight available this summer after being "cooped up all winter."
Madsen said he and his wife Amy's summer plans include running in the Canal Run, the Breakers to Bay Run and other events.
Dan Roblee/Daily Mining Gazette
People make the most out of a nice summer day by playing volleyball on Hancock Beach. The warm temperatures made it a sun soaked weekend for a lot of people throughout the Copper Country.
"It's nice to be running in shorts and a T-shirt," he said.
Asked how long she thought it had been since a weekend had been this nice, Amy came close in guessing late September, and noted that even last summer had been unusually cold.
Actually, the last three days in a row that topped out at over 70 degrees at Houghton County Memorial Airport were Oct. 8 through 10, 2013, according to Meteorologist Jonathan Voss of the National Weather Service Office in Negaunee Township - that's 228 days ago counting from Saturday to Oct. 8. This weekend's temperatures topped out at 68 on Friday, 81 on Saturday, 77 Sunday, and 81 on Monday.
Voss said warm weather should continue through the next couple of weeks, with the exception of a brief cold front moving through around Monday.
"Summer weather," he said. "It looks like definitely warmer weather for the next week or so."
Overall, however, temperatures will likely be below normal for the summer as a whole, Voss said, citing data predictions for June through August from the Climate Prediction Center. The Prediction Center also shows that chances of high, low or normal precipitation are relatively equal.
While that doesn't tell us much, "there's no signal that we're going to be in drought for the whole summer," Voss said.
At the Hancock Beach pier, a few of the youth who'd tested the water - measured at 43 degrees Fahrenheit on Thursday - and seemed unsurprised they'd survived, shared their summer plans.
"I'm going to work at Econo Foods," said Laura Emmert, a student for most of the year.
"I'm going to Colorado, for a youth camp there," said her sister, Lisa.
Trevor Tchida, 13, of Hancock, was a little less ambitious.
"Golfing and hanging out with the boys," he said.
A group of high school girls from Calumet were a bit further off in guessing the last three 70-degree days, concurring that it was probably last August.
Well ashore and safely dry, Anna Leppanen of Hancock was no less excited about the sunshine, saying she planned to "stay outdoors, plant some flowers, and walk on the beach."
Adam Griffis, of Houghton, plans on taking it easy. This summer, he said, he'll be doing "as little as possible."