More snow, more records.
Wednesday’s snowfall, our latest gift from the heavens, sets records for the date in Metro Detroit and Flint area, according to the National Weather Service.
Metro Airport in Romulus received 7.6 inches of snow while the Bishop International Airport in Flint Township received 5.7 inches.
The old records were 5 inches at Metro Airport in 1908 and 3.5 inches at Bishop Airport in 1982, according to the weather service office in White Lake Township.
According to weather service records, Metro Detroit has received 59.1 inches of snow so far this winter season after Wednesday’s snowstorm, which dropped between 3 and 8 inches of snow across the metro area.
After highs hitting the mid-20s, the thermometer could dip into the single digits overnight.
The weather services predicts clearer, colder conditions Thursday, with highs in the teens and a low around 0. Subzero wind chills also are expected.
A cold front that arrived from Canada on Wednesday was expected to drop temperatures to 16 to 20 degrees Thursday from a high of 27 on Wednesday. The wind chill will be dangerously low Thursday tonight, when it will feel like minus 20, meteorologist Rachel Kulik said.
On Friday, a high of 10-14 degrees is expected with lows near minus 6 overnight. Temperatures will rise a couple degrees Saturday and Sunday, when Another Canadian weather system is expected to bring another inch or two, Kulik said.
Snowfall totals Wednesday in southeast Michigan included 6 inches in Dearborn; 8 inches in Detroit; 5 inches in Pontiac; 6 inches in Grosse Pointe; 7.8 inches in Ypsilanti; and 8.3 inches in Wyandotte, the weather service reported. .
The snowfall caused dozens of spinouts, minor crashes and driving speeds during the Wednesday commute on roadways that were glacial at best.
A 30-vehicle chain reaction crash near Jackson closed down a portion of I-94 for nearly two hours Wednesday morning. According to the Michigan Department of Transportation, the crash initially involved two semis and a car, but soon grew larger when following traffic was unable to stop in time.
AAA of Michigan reported servicing 1,100 customers Wednesday morning, with the majority of the calls concerning dead batteries, spinouts, vehicles in ditches and minor bang-ups. According to AAA spokeswoman Nancy Cain, the insurance provider has received twice as many calls for aid this winter compared to the same time during the winter of 2012-13.
Problems at the airport
Snowy conditions at Detroit Metro also caused problems for three planes that got caught in the snow.
“We had two flights that became stuck within a few minutes of each other but were otherwise unrelated,” Delta Airlines spokesman Morgan Durrant said. “Endeavor Air flight 3564 coming in from Greensboro, N.C., caught a wing tip in a snowbank on the taxiway. Crews pushed the aircraft back and then it proceeded to the gate. There were 50 passengers on board and no injuries.”
In the second incident, Express Jet flight 5035 inbound from Chattanooga, Tenn., had its front landing gear leave the pavement and get stuck in the snow.
“They moved the aircraft back onto the concrete and it proceeded on to the gate. Again there were no injuries.”
A corporate jet also got stuck in the snow when it mistakenly turned onto a fire access lane rather than a taxiway.
On the snowy streets
For those who made it in to downtown Detroit on Wednesday morning, a wonderland of deep drifts and unshoveled sidewalks awaited. Outside on Griswold Street, Keith Ruskiewicz was busy making sure those coming and going from the Ford Building had a clear path.
The 49-year-old has worked as an electrician and all-around handyman at the building for 22 years, and the only winter he can remember that matches up to 2013-14 came during his first year on the job.
“This is, by far, one of the worst (winters) I’ve seen,” he said, taking a quick break from manning the snowblower. “We’ve already been through a whole pile of salt this year.”
Kathy Gardner spent two decades raising her children near Escanaba in the state’s Upper Peninsula.
But that wasn’t enough to prepare her for this winter’s relentless snow and cold.
Gardner, 62, spent nearly 15 minutes clearing the snow off her car Wednesday morning so she could take her daughter to work downtown. The commute is normally 15-20 minutes but Gardner expected it could take more than an hour.
“I’m not real happy about it,” Gardner said. “It’s such a long commute in snow like this. It’s scary.”
Crime and the cold
The Detroit Police Department has sent out a press release on the supposed belief that crime drops along with the thermometer.
According to DPD statistics, there has been a decrease in homicides over the past six months: “It leaves one to wonder, is this by design or the work of Mother Nature?”
So the DPD conducted a study for the month of January over the past 13 years to determine if weather had any effect on the number of homicides.
Apparently it does, but not in a good way: “Colder temperatures do not reduce the number of homicides. In fact, the exact opposite is true regarding colder weather.”
The DPD reports that within the past 13 years, the month of January with the lowest minimum temperatures had the highest numbers of murders, including 2005, which recorded 40 homicides with an average minimum temperature of 17.4.
There were 38 murders in 2004 when the average minimum temperature was 12.6 degrees and 34 murders in 2009 when the average minimum was 9.5 degrees.
Conversely murders were down in Januaries with higher temps, including: 26 homicides in 2001 with an average minimum temperature of 20.5; 24 murders in 2006 with an average minimum of 29.7 degrees and 24 homicides in 2008 with an average minimum of 22.2.
Staff writers Mark Hicks and Kim Kozlowski and the Associated Press contributed.