Midwest: October Snow

There’s the Midwest and then there’s the Midwest. Most people would define the region, south to north, as extending from southern Illinois to Marquette, Michigan. But it was still summer in Carbondale last week while we got a heavy, wet snowstorm up here in the U.P.

In Watersmeet, which is on the edge of the Lake Superior snow belt, we got a relative dusting, maybe three or four inches. Closer to the big lake they got more like a foot or more.

This isn’t at all unusual. We usually get our first sticking snow in the latter part of October. But it only sticks around for a few days. It’s been pushing 70 in these parts this weekend and all the snow is gone now. If the traditional pattern holds, we should expect the first serious snow to come and settle in right around the opening of Michigan gun deer season, which is November 15th.

What’s odd about the October soft launch of a U.P. winter is the mixture of seasons. It snows while the leaves are still on the trees, then they keep falling after the storm so that you get this weird leaves on top of snow effect. It makes for some nice pictures.

But then the leaves mix with the melting snow, which produces something you might call leaf glop. The leaves hold the moisture, as I rediscovered yesterday while I tried to get them out of my fishing boat before tucking it away in the garage for the winter. They hung in there like a Northern fighting to stay in the lake and out of my net. Eventually though, I won the battle and I backed the boat into my garage on only two tries. A record.

I rewarded myself with a brandy old fashioned on my deck as I listened to the Badgers actually win a football game for a change. The mild late afternoon was marred by my neighbor who ran his leaf blower for an hour. It’s one thing to blow the leaves out of a boat before storing it and it’s another to try to blow leaves out of the woods. It’s a forest. There are leaves. It’s part of the beautiful cycle of freaking nature, people. And I wanted to enjoy my cocktail and the pleasant weather and the Badger victory in peace and quiet.

But he finally finished his attempt to bend nature to his will and I got in a half hour of cocktail sipping, football and serenity. My boat was safe in my garage (on only two attempts!) and the snow was banished for now. But I know that last week’s storm was just a warning shot across the bow. It’ll be back to stay in a few weeks.


Published by dave cieslewicz

Madison/Upper Peninsula based writer. Mayor of Madison, WI from 2003 to 2011.

2 thoughts on “Midwest: October Snow

  1. I’ll see your October snow and raise you an Indian summer. Have to look over your shoulder before you utter that phrase in Madison. Not sure if it’s politically incorrect and don’t care to find out. Just happy to have mid 70s and extra low humidity.


  2. Leaf blowers have to be the most obnoxious garden utensils on the market. They’re loud, sometimes stinky and a perfect example of a makework tool. Try using a rake, people.


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