Bitter cold, more snow; DPS, others to close Tues.
Fresh off the season's biggest snowstorm, winter is poised to deliver more misery for Metro Detroiters.
A cold snap was expected to drop temperatures into the single digits for Tuesday's morning commute, followed by a likely snowfall of up to 3 inches Tuesday night, according to the National Weather Service.
The predicted one-two punch comes as residents begin getting back to normal after up to 17 inches of snow buried the region through Monday morning.
By Monday evening, Dearborn and Plymouth had canceled snow emergencies while school districts including the Education Achievement Authority, Detroit Public Schools, Walled Lake Consolidated School District, Center Line Public Schools, Warren Consolidated Schools, Farmington Public Schools, Rochester Community Schools, Plymouth-Canton Community Schools, Livonia Public Schools, Wayne-Westland Community Schools, L'Anse Creuse Public Schools, Pinckney Community Schools and Royal Oak Schools announced Tuesday school closings on their websites. The EAA and DPS central office staff were to report for work, however.
Road crews continued clearing freeways, ramps and secondary streets, hoping to avoid having wet surfaces refreeze.
"We have tried to be judicious in our use of road salt because we don't want to turn roads into ice rinks with refreezing," said Craig Bryson, spokesman for the Road Commission of Oakland County. "We would prefer to get the roads clear of snow and ice and as dry as possible."
In many areas, crews had been out since late Sunday, battling wind-blown snow that drifted to two feet or more in some areas.
Beginning at 3 a.m. Monday, Oakland County had 100 plow trucks out, 10 road graders and two to three private contracting companies clearing streets, Bryson said.
Officials asked commuters to be patient as plows worked to move all of that snow out of the way.
"We are making progress, but some neighborhoods might not have their roads cleared for two to three days," Bryson said late Monday afternoon.
By late Monday afternoon, Detroit officials said crews had been working nonstop in rotating shifts for 36 hours and that major roads were substantially passable. About 25 percent of the city's 1,884 miles of residential side streets had been plowed, and officials said they expected most to have at least a 10-foot-wide path open by Tuesday morning.
The city had 52 trucks on the streets and about 150 Detroit Public Works employees busy shoveling out police stations, fire houses and about 130 city facilities.
"For having the third worst snowstorm in the history of Detroit, we are doing remarkably well," said Gary Brown, the city's chief operating officer.
However, the president of the Detroit Federation of Teachers union called Monday evening on the city and Detroit Public Schools to step up plowing and salting on streets and sidewalks leading to schools.
"At this moment, we have not found a single school that has been plowed and salted," said DFT president Steve Conn in a statement.
Steve Wasko, a DPS spokesman, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Brown said the city handles the streets around the schools while the district is responsible for the sidewalks. The city added an extra contractor Monday to help clear the neighborhoods, he said.
"We're expecting to be at least at a minimum of 90 percent done by 7 a.m. (Tuesday) morning. We're working really hard to get them done, but this was an historic storm… It took 48 hours to fall, and it's going to take 48 hours for us to get it all cleaned up."
The National Weather Service recorded 16.7 inches of snow at Detroit Metro Airport, trailing just two other local snowfalls — 19.3 inches on Dec. 1, 1974, and 24.5 inches on April 16, 1886.
Other amounts included 17 inches in Brownstown Township, 15.5 inches in Shelby Township, 15 inches in Monroe, 14.1 inches in Ann Arbor, 13.1 inches in Rochester and 9 inches in Holly.
For some business owners, the snow brought commerce to a virtual halt.
"I see some traffic driving down Jos. Campau, but I don't see anybody walking," Sandy Bakic said Monday from Hamtramck's New Martha Washington Bakery, owned by her father.
Bakic said it took her about an hour to drive to the bakery from her home in Shelby Township, a longer commute than usual. But her biggest challenge was finding a place to park near the bakery.
"You can't park on the main streets like Jos. Campau, or Caniff, (and) the city lots weren't plowed," she said. "So I had to drive around and around and had to drive almost a mile away just to turn around. ... I finally just parked in front of the bakery on Jos. Campau."
Streets weren't the only places ladened with snow. Part of the dome at the Winstar Sports Complex in Pontiac caved in from the weight of the snow. The complex, on Featherstone Road, is in the parking lot of the Silverdome.
"The weight has pushed down one end," owner Tony Hermiz said Monday afternoon.
He said he's hired a restoration company to melt the snow and expects to have the issue resolved at some point Tuesday.
"Then we'll go from there," he said.
Many other businesses, schools, universities and government offices were closed, including the state Legislature, the Michigan Supreme Court and the state Court of Appeals.
Most area Ford Motor Co., General Motors Co. and FCA US, manufacturing plants canceled operations for at least part of Monday because many employees were unable get to work.
The University of Michigan's main, Dearborn and Flint campuses were closed, as were Eastern Michigan University, Oakland University and Wayne State University. Michigan State University canceled morning classes Monday.
Public schools in Detroit, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo, among others, were closed. State of Michigan offices were closed in communities under a snow emergency.
Flight delays and cancelations were reported at Detroit Metro Airport and at airports in Grand Rapids and Flint.
Hospitals reported few injuries or illnesses related to the weather as of Monday afternoon.
Henry Ford Health System had two reported cases of cold exposure, and some patient cancellations for elective surgery and outpatient appointments, said David Olejarez, a hospital spokesman.
The Detroit Medical Center's five emergency departments didn't report drastic increases in injuries or illnesses.
But officials stressed that individuals should be careful as they dig out from the heavy snowfall. Strenuous activity such as shoveling in extreme cold can heighten the risk of frostbite, back injuries, fractures and heart attacks.
"If you are going out to shovel, definitely layer your clothing. You are going to sweat when you are out there, especially with the heavy snow like we have now," said Carolyn Brierley, a senior physical therapist with DMC's Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan.
With the current temperatures and wind gusts, frostbite could set in within 10 to 15 minutes, she said. When gloves and other clothing become wet, people should go inside and replace them with dry ones.
Solid footwear is also important, as is taking smaller steps, not wide strides, to avoid slip and fall injuries, Brierley said.
Gina Nitz of Roseville struggled in vain to keep up with the relentless snowfall, shoveling her driveway four times Sunday evening. When she woke up Monday to catch the bus to her job at Bob Evans, fresh snow was halfway up her calf.
Still, she took the wintry weather in stride.
"It is Michigan. It is February," she said. "I just hope this doesn't mean winter will last until May."
That's unlikely, at least in lower Michigan, but people hoping for an early spring got some bad news: a groundhog named for the actor Bill Murray saw her shadow Monday in Livingston County, predicting six more weeks of winter.
Detroit News Staff Writers Charles E. Ramirez, Shawn D. Lewis, Mark Hicks, Melissa Burden, Michael Martinez and Michael Wayland and the Associated Press contributed.
■A winter storm inflicted fresh misery on the Northeast on Monday, causing the cancellation of flights, classes and major court cases across a region still digging out from last week's blizzard. Officials said a Massachusetts woman was killed when she was struck by a snowplow.
■The snowstorm, which dumped more than 19 inches of snow to Chicago, deepened off the southern New England coast, bringing accumulations of 9 to 16 inches to Boston and a slushy wintry mix to Hartford, Connecticut; Providence, Rhode Island; southern New Hampshire and Vermont.
■More than 5,300 flights were canceled over Sunday and Monday due to the storm, according to flight tracking service FlightAware.
■The handlers of Pennsylvania's most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, said Monday the furry rodent has forecast six more weeks of winter.