Travel difficult on Michigan roads amid snow, cold

Gusting winds and blowing snow caused whiteout conditions Monday that made travel treacherous on some Michigan roadways, and many schools planned to close for a second day because of the severe weather.
AP Wire
Jan 27, 2014

Fresh snow fell overnight into Monday morning, and temperatures ranged from 11 degrees below zero in parts of the Upper Peninsula to the low teens in the Lower Peninsula. Temperatures are expected to drop, with lows early Tuesday down to minus 7 to minus 13 in parts of southeastern Michigan.

Slick roads and weather conditions contributed to crashes that killed three people over the weekend.

Authorities say another man in the southwestern Michigan community of Paw Paw died Sunday afternoon as he was snow-blowing his driveway, the victim of an apparent heart attack.

Western Michigan University shut down Monday, along with most schools in Kalamazoo County. Some Detroit-area schools were shuttered, including in Macomb County, and some in Wayne and other counties.

In Grand Rapids, where the thermometer read 7 degrees Monday, 47-year-old Gary Sloan said cold weather and snow wouldn't disrupt his day. The salesman at Used Car Motor Mall said he dressed for the frigid weather.

"Preparation helped me out," he said. "This type of weather, you've got to come armored. You've got to have your snow pants. You've got to have your boots."

Sloan said crews have done a good job this winter of clearing the roads for his morning commute from East Grand Rapids to the dealership.

Regardless, school districts in Grand Rapids and across southwestern Michigan were closed Monday. Other schools closed were reported in the normally winter-friendly Upper Peninsula.

Detroit, the state's largest district, said it was closing schools Tuesday because of the frigid forecast, as was the Lansing school district in the state's capital.

It's been the snowiest January on record in some parts of Michigan, even with a few days remaining in the month. The month also is on pace to be among the 20 coldest Januarys in the Detroit and Flint areas.

Bone-chilling cold didn't keep some hardy souls from sidling up to the counter at Donutville U.S.A. in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn. A morning crowd that normally grows to about a half-dozen started with two, Angelo Barile and Dominic Marini.

"I can't stay in the house," said Marini, 65, who works in construction and has the winters off.

"We're here every day — we never miss," echoed Barile, 72, a retired owner of an Italian bakery.

Marini initially described the cold in unprintable terms, but then said he can live with it.

"It's winter in Michigan, and some winters are worse than others," Marini said.

As of Monday morning, the National Weather Service said 38.1 inches of snow fell this month in the Detroit area. That tops the previous high of 29.6 inches in 1978. The normal snowfall for January in the area is 12.5 inches.

In the Flint area, 32.6 inches has fallen so far this January. That tops the 1976 record of 28.5 inches. The normal is 13.1 inches.

In Michigan's Upper Peninsula, authorities say M-28 between Harvey and Munising was reopened around midday Monday after being closed due to blowing and drifting snow.

On upper Michigan's far northern Keweenaw Peninsula, Michigan Technological University students and staff celebrate snow like few others, but this year is a bit much even for them.

Grounds manager Pete Pelissero said Monday that students have asked crews to remove some snow from the site where they're making snow and ice sculptures. It's the first time he can recall such a request in his 20 years with the Houghton school in far northern Michigan.

The sculptures are centerpieces of the Winter Carnival, which kicks off Feb. 5.

Students usually want more fresh snow for their creations, but this year, "it's so much," Pelissero said.

Despite the hard winter, Pelissero said, Michigan Tech has not canceled classes yet this year.

Post a Comment

Log in to your account to post comments here and on other stories, galleries and polls. Share your thoughts and reply to comments posted by others. Don't have an account on GrandHavenTribune.com? Create a new account today to get started.