Winter returns: Niles area in midst of third-snowiest season
Don Hughes was one of many Niles residents who got up early to remove snow from their driveways and sidewalks after Wednesday morning’s snowstorm dumped about five inches across the region.
“It’s not the worst winter I can remember, but it’s extremely unusual to have this much snow and cold at this time of the year,” said the 55-year-old part time Niles firefighter. “The older I get, the less I enjoy it.
According to the National Weather Service, Niles is in the middle of its third snowiest winter since 1943.
Meteorologist John Taylor said Niles has received 107.9 inches to date, not including Wednesday morning’s snowfall.
The snowiest winter, he said, occurred in 1969-70 when 122.9 inches fell. In 1966-67, 115.4 inches fell, making it the second snowiest winter.
Why so much snow?
Taylor said a persistent upper-level low over Eastern Canada has kept temperatures well below normal throughout the winter, meaning any precipitation that falls comes in the form of snow.
He said there’s also been a fair amount of low-pressure systems moving through the area, including the one that hit the region Wednesday morning.
“Most of the precipitation associated with those systems has been snow,” he said.
Yesterday’s snowfall contributed to widespread power outages throughout Michiana.
According to Indiana Michigan Power, approximately 1,200 customers in Michigan lost power due mainly to snow and ice weighing down tree limbs and power lines.
The City of Niles reported that a fallen tree limb caused an outage to more than 3,000 of its electric customers around 1:46 a.m. Dispatched city crews were able to isolate the damaged line through field switching, with power restored to 1,059 customers at 3:36 a.m., 440 customers by 4:55 a.m. and the remaining 2,924 customers at 5:09 a.m. The city said outages like this are rare in Niles, which had an electric reliability factor of 99.97 percent in 2013.