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Snow falling across most of state

Tom Greenwood
The Detroit News
In Grand Rapids’ Richmond Park, people take advantage of the fresh snow to get in some sledding.

After a cold, snowy day that wreaked havoc on the roads, Metro Detroit can expect more snow and frigid temperatures tonight.

Temperatures at 10 p.m. were 27 at Detroit Metro Airport.

"We are expecting another half-inch to an inch through midnight," said Rachel Kulik, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

That follows an unusually frosty and collision-prone day Wednesday, when Metro Airport saw temperatures dip to 13 degrees — about 20 below normal and not far from the record low of 9 set in 1880. Many areas also saw a fresh dusting of snow — including as much as 1.5 inches in Roseville, 1.3 inches in Howell and 1 inch in Ann Arbor, according to the weather service.

The weather service said 20.4 inches of snow fell in Ottawa County near Allendale and 17.2 inches fell in East Grand Rapids.

That left slip-and-slide driving conditions for commuters Wednesday.

Crashes were reported on Interstates 696 and 94. The Michigan Department of Transportation reported a single-vehicle crash at eastbound I-96 after Davison at about 6:30 p.m.

Michigan State Police responded to some 60 crashes in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties between midnight and 4 p.m., Lt. Mike Shaw said.

An Accident on westbound I-696 at Hoover that shut down the freeway in Warren on Wednesday.

"Most were caused by driving too fast for conditions or following too closely. ... We are continuing to advise motorists to drive at a speed for conditions, increase their following distance," he said.

Farther south, a crash involving two vehicles at about 11 a.m. led to minor injuries and the closure of southbound Interstate 75 at Dixie Road Highway in Monroe Wednesday.

Meanwhile in Battle Creek, two elementary students received minor injuries when a pickup slid into their school bus on its way to Verona Elementary School.

According to reports, the truck was southbound on Sharon Avenue and was unable to stop, colliding with the bus that was eastbound on Pitman. Two children bumped their heads and were checked by EMS personnel.

In light of a slippery day resulting in multiple crashes across southeast Michigan, Lt. Tony Cuevas of the Monroe Post of the Michigan State Police said drivers should be on the look out for a return to icy conditions.

"We've had clear roads the last few months and people get conditioned to driving that way ... and seem to forget their winter driving habits," he said. "But there's no way you can do 70 miles per hour when there's ice."

Kulik said lake effect snow is forecast to continue through most of the day Thursday from Interstate 94 to M-59, bringing an additional inch of accumulation.

Highs are expected to hover in the 20s Thursday and Friday, with lows in the teens.

Nasty as it is, the weather for Metro Detroit isn't nearly as severe as the storms hitting the rest of the state.

A foot or more of fresh snow expected in parts of northern Michigan through Thursday, adding to already deep snow on the ground.

In west Michigan, the weather service said at least 16 inches of snow had fallen since Monday in Grand Rapids and in Kalamazoo County. Southwest Michigan could see 5-8 inches into Thursday.

The prewinter cold weather system has set temperature records and caused at least one crash death in Genesee County.

The National Weather Service predicts temperatures could reach into the upper 30s Saturday, with freezing rain early then a chance of showers after noon.

"We'll get into the 40s on Sunday and Monday, which is where we should be this time of year," meteorologist Steve Considine said.

Detroit News Staff Writer Mark Hicks and the Associated Press and contributed to this report.

Extended forecast

Wednesday night: Cloudy with light snow showers and accumulations of less than an inch. Lows of 18 to 22.

Thursday: Mostly cloudy with a chance of light snow showers. Highs of 25 to 29.

Thursday night: Partly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of light snow showers. Lows of 14 to 18.

Friday: Mostly sunny with highs of 25 to 29.

Friday night: Mostly clear. Lows 16 to 20.

Saturday: Mostly cloudy with a 40 percent chance of showers and freezing rain. Highs 38 to 42.

Saturday night: Cloudy with a 60 percent chance of showers. Lows 35 to 39.

Sunday: Cloudy with a 70 percent chance of showers. Highs 46 to 50.

Sunday night: There is a 60 percent chance of showers. Lows 39 to 43.

Monday: Cloudy with a 50 percent chance of showers and highs of 46 to 50.