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Temps to crawl up after flirting with record

George Hunter
The Detroit News

Detroit — After flirting with all-time low temperatures Sunday, Metro Detroit was expected to shatter the record overnight before warming up by Monday afternoon.

The overnight forecast called for temperatures between minus 9 in downtown Detroit and minus 15 in outlying areas — possibly eclipsing the record low for Feb. 16 of minus 9 set in 1904.

The good news? By noon, things were expected to heat up — "if you can consider a high of around 9 to be warming up," National Weather Service meteorologist Sara Schultz said.

By Tuesday, temperatures were expected to jump to 22, with a 40 percent chance of light snow.

Detroit on Sunday came within one degree of matching the all-time low temperature for Feb. 15 of minus 10 degrees, At about 8 a.m. Sunday, the temperature was minus 9, with a wind chill factor a numbing minus 31.

Temperatures climbed throughout the day Sunday, reaching 7 by about 6 p.m. — still far below the norm for the day of between 22 and 36 and failing to break the record coldest high for Feb. 15 of 2 degrees set in 1904.

Earlier Sunday, with winds whipping up to about 20 mph, the Detroit Rescue Mission in the Cass Corridor was full of men seeking refuge from the elements and hot coffee.

Among them was 47-year-old Mark Lowe, who said being homeless has taught him to appreciate "the little things in life."

"I'm happy to just be alive," Lowe said. "And I'm happy (the Rescue Mission) opened up their doors to give us a little heat."

Bryant Bennett, an employee of the mission, said he expected the center to serve more than 100 men Sunday.

"When it gets cold like this, we fill up pretty quick," he said. The 69-bed facility adds 70 cots to accommodate the extra warmth-seekers.

About 2,000 Canton Township residents were without power for a few hours Sunday, said DTE Energy spokesman Alejandro Bodipo-Memba.

"There was an equipment failure," Bodipo-Memba said, adding that the problem was fixed after about three hours.

Buried under four layers of clothes, DeShawn Broadus, 35, walks through arctic temperatures in Detroit.

"It was cold, but it wasn't too bad," Canton Township resident Julie Small said. "DTE estimated the power would be out from about 10 to noon, and it came back on at 12:03, so they were just about right on the money."

While Metro Detroit avoided setting records, the Flint and the Tri-Cities area around Saginaw weren't as lucky, Schultz said.

"Flint got down to minus 11 this morning, breaking the record of minus 7 set in 1943," she said. "Tri-Cities were at minus 13 this morning; the old record was minus 7 in 2004."

Detroit police teamed up this week with the Michigan Humane Society to raise awareness of how important it is to bring pets inside when the temperatures drop. Sgt. Erik Eide, head of the Mounted Unit, was among several people who slept in doghouses last week as part of the campaign.

"It was pretty bad, and it was 17-18 degrees, not as cold as it is now," Eide said Sunday. "Once your feet and toes get cold, there's no way to get them warm. It drives you nuts."

Eide said the seven horses in the Mounted Unit are kept in a heated barn during extreme temperatures, although they're allowed outside to loosen up.

"Horses have hooves, so the cold isn't as bad for them as it is for dogs and cats, who only have pads," he said. "People need to let their pets inside when it gets this bad."

ghunter@detroitnews.com

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