St. Joe businesses preparing for the colder months — as temps drop and high winds pick up

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ST. JOSEPH, Mich. – The seasons are changing in Southwest Michigan.

According to the National Weather Service, on Monday, Berrien County saw temps in the low 40s — and wind speeds reaching as high as 45 miles an hour, leading to a wind and lakeshore flooding advisory.

The cold temps are leading some to swap their fall jackets for winter coats — and outdoor outfitter Wanderlust, located in downtown St. Joe, started to pack away its summer stock for more practical winter gear.

Store Manager Angie Janutolo told me, “We like to get people outfitted so they can be outside and enjoy the outdoors through all types of weather, so we’ve got hats, beanies, gloves, snowshoes, parkas, cute flannels, cozy fleeces, snow boots—anything that you need to be outside in the winter.”

“When fall rolls around and we start to get these big weather systems that bring in the wind that we need to make waves on the Great Lakes, that’s when the surfers are really getting out there,” said Ryan Gerard, owner of Third Coast Surf Shop, also located downtown.

Gerard opened the shop 12 years ago, and while they tend to see plenty of business over the summer, he said they still manage to thrive as things cool down — not only stocking surf gear, but snowboarding gear too.

“We sold a surfboard earlier today,” Gerard said. “We’ve got twenty boxes of wetsuit gear going out with USPS. Right now it’s prime surfing for Great Lakes surfers and we’re also anticipating a really strong winter snowboarding season as well.”

While I only saw one person bold enough to brave the waves out at Silver Beach in the afternoon, Gerard assured me that would not be the case for long.

“I guarantee you there are not only a few people out surfing, there are dozens, if not multiple dozens surfing on Lake Michigan for sure, but across the Great Lakes,” he said.

“Even on a day like today?” I asked.

“Oh yeah!” Gerard said. “These are the days we wait for.”

While there is a lakeshore flood advisory in place and while it can lead to minor erosion, Greg Grothous, St. Joe’s Director of Public Works, did not anticipate any homes or businesses to be affected, though he added that they are actively monitoring the situation.

The wind and lakeshore flooding advisories are in effect until October 19.

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