That became a reality early Monday morning as the winds strengthened and rain turned into a heavy, wet snowfall, creating extremely slippery conditions on all area roads.
Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to 36 crashes across the county as of mid-afternoon Monday, according to Sgt. Michael VandenBosch. A handful of those crashes involved some minor injuries, but nothing major, he said.
“This does not include several dozen slide-offs, where there was no damage,” VandenBosch said.
Monday was “just another snowfall in Michigan,” he added.
But that snowfall was enough to cause most school districts in southwest Michigan to cancel classes by about 6 a.m. Monday.
Jason Duram took advantage of the snow day by taking his children — Saydee, Xander and Rya — to Grand Haven’s Duncan Memorial Park to go sledding.
“I’m a teacher at Grand Haven High School,” he said, explaining his presence on what normally would have been a school day. “Mom’s at work.”
Josh Olger, a substitute school bus driver who also runs a food prep kitchen for Muskegon schools, was also at the hill with his children, Wilden and Ashlynne, along with a couple of their friends, Abrielle and Keenan Johnson. Since work was canceled, Olger noted that it was an “adult snow day,” too.
William “Willy” Law, leaned on his shovel to talk for a few minutes after cleaning the snow away from a fire hydrant next to his home near the intersection of Sherman and Leggatt streets in Grand Haven.
“That’s why I’m 90, because I shovel,” he said.
Law said he’s been clearing snow from the sidewalk and fire hydrants by his home for 65 years. He encourages others to clean the snow away from their nearby hydrants so that they are accessible if needed by public safety officers.
The U.S. Postal Service is also asking residents for help in clearing snow from their sidewalks, stairs and mailboxes.
“Snow and ice make delivery dangerous and slow,” said Krista Finazzo, Greater Michigan District manager for the postal service.
Officially, the National Weather Service said Muskegon received 3.5 inches of snow Monday, while Grand Rapids saw nearly 5 inches. The weather bureau said 7.5 inches of snow fell at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport early Monday.
The Grand Haven area was under a winter weather advisory from 11 p.m. Sunday until early Monday afternoon. The massive weather system that covered a large portion of the Lower Peninsula has moved east, but more snow is expected along the Lakeshore this week.
Lake-effect snow is likely west of U.S. 131 on Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service. There is a chance of that lake-effect snow every day through Thursday.
High temperatures are expected to be in the lower 30s before climbing up to near 40 on Friday, around 40 on Saturday and 43 with a chance of showers Sunday.