By JEREMY SPEER
I’ve lived here long enough to know some of you will think I’m crazy, but I love the weather in Northwest Ohio.
An instant conversation topic anywhere, the weather has been a perfect icebreaker upon meeting new Buckeye State folks, as I’m coming to realize the place I used to live has quite the extreme climate.
Each winter in Gaylord, Michigan, I questioned why I was there. Amid the kindred Up North souls enduring the same 141 inches of snow per year (U.S. Climate Data), it seemed normal to say goodbye to green grass sometime in late October/early November and typically not say hello to it again until late March/early April. Traversing on snow-blown roads with icy windshields was the rule and not the exception, and everyone realized that unless you are on skis, snowshoes or a sled, being outdoors was for snowblowing or moving between vehicle and building. I averaged getting my vehicle stuck three times per winter, and during each of the past three winters, we were “snowed in” for more than 48 hours, the ability to get out of our driveway only a pipe dream.
My wife and I felt the increasing wonder: “Why are we doing this?” We both grew up in Northern Michigan and our families live there, but neither of us were really snow-loving people, unless you take into consideration a love of snow days for my teacher wife and two school-aged girls.
Now the weather wasn’t the reason we left — opportunity coupled with a changing work situation facilitated this lifestyle change, but it certainly was a really good benefit.
You might be laughing at me”¦this place having good weather? Well, for a guy who has been through what I have, it is absolutely true.
When I first came here in the late spring of 2019, I was told tales about this region’s winters — “The snow can be bad at times,” “You haven’t seen anything like the wind around here,” “It’s gray and miserable,” etc., etc., etc.
While at times I have seen all of that, I am amazed with how nice the winter has actually been. Despite the week taking a turn back toward traditional winter, I understand this has been a mild one. However, I have noticed a couple of reasons why I’m digging what I feel is almost constant spring coat weather:
• The snow: Findlay’s annual snowfall checks in around 22 inches, with Fostoria at 26 inches and Tiffin at 30 inches. That’s what I like to call a good weekend in Northern Michigan.
• The aftermath: When it does snow, it is beautiful. Then, a couple days later, it warms up and it goes away. I can get used to this, as the lingering effects of fresh snowfall almost every day mean difficult driving conditions almost all the time in the northland.
• The temperature: There is an eight-to-nine-degree gap between the average daily high in Northern Michigan compared to Northwest Ohio. That’s significant, as it means less bitterly cold days. I have seen bitter cold and wind that remind me of my past life, but it has been few and far between.
• The warmups: There have been a couple of times this winter where temperatures have risen, the sun has come out and the world feels very much springlike. That is a rarity in Northern Michigan, where “warmups” still typically mean below freezing.
• The seasons: In Michigan, there are two predominant seasons “” winter and summer, with fall and spring being very short and very volatile. The weather is at times volatile here, but I saw more nice fall days in 2019 than the previous five years combined and look forward to a true spring ahead.
All this weather talk reminds me of a conversation years ago with a co-worker who had moved to Northern Michigan from working at The Blade in Toledo. She told me how the weather was “kind of boring” in Northwest Ohio, and there typically isn’t much to get excited about like there is in Michigan.
At the time, I thought that was”¦well, boring. It’s funny how perspective changes things, and I’m reveling in the relative quiet this winter has brought.
I’m not typically a bragger, but as you might imagine, the changes in weather pattern have been discussed in conversations with people from our past locale. To my chagrin, they typically aren’t too impressed.
“The bugs are bigger the farther south you go,” they say, dead serious. Truth is they are, but they aren’t that big here in the Midwest.
It is your right to complain about the weather. But I won’t be one of those people. In many unexpected areas I’ve made an upgrade in moving to Ohio, the weather being a good example.
Jeremy Speer is the publisher of The Courier in Findlay, The Advertiser-Tribune in Tiffin and The Review Times in Fostoria. You can reach him at Send an E-mail to jeremyspeer or firstname.lastname@example.org.