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Schools shut, Berkley tends main break; wind chill: -30

Tom Greenwood
The Detroit News

Arctic air kept a tight grip on southeast Michigan overnight.

But for Berkley public works crews, a water main break couldn't wait. DPW workers were on the job late Wednesday, enduring cold temperatures as low as minus 3 while battling the break on Harvard near Cass. It left area customers without water while the fix was made, according to the city's website.

"Please note that due to the extremely cold weather that is predicted tonight, repair times will be longer than normal," a notice on the site said.

The city expected to have services restored by early Thursday and directed questions to the DPW at (248) 658-3490 between 7 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. or Public Safety at (248) 658-3380 for a water emergency.

Meanwhile, the National Weather Service issued a wind chill warning until noon Thursday, stretching from southeast Michigan up into the Thumb, according to meteorologist Joe Clark.

Temperatures of minus 10 and wind chills of minus 25 to minus 30 degrees are expected in northern areas, said Clark, working out of the White Lake Township station. The coldest wind chills near minus 30 degrees will fall between 4-8 a.m. Thursday, mainly along and north of the M-59 corridor, NWS said. Chance of snow by 10 p.m. at Detroit Metro in Romulus is 40 percent, the weather service said.

The low temperature overnight at Metro Detroit is expected to be about minus 3 with wind chill values as low as minus 19. A high of 18 Wednesday was reached at 2:24 p.m. Metro Airport saw 0.2 inches of snow.

Thursday will be sunny and cold, with a high of 4 degrees in Metro Detroit, a wind chill as low as minus 21 and wind gusts of up to 25 mph, the weather service said. Thursday night will be clear, with a low of minus 12.

A winter storm warning was in effect until 7 p.m. Thursday for Allegan and Van Buren counties, where 4-6 inches of snow and wind chills of 5-15 below are expected.

School districts in Metro Detroit and others in the region began announcing classes were canceled by Thursday evening, according to district websites. Included on the closed list were Northville Public Schools, Huron Valley Schools, Livonia Public Schools, Novi Community School District, Allen Park Public Schools, Anchor Bay School District, Dexter Community Schools and Wyandotte Public Schools.

"It's not unusual for February to be the coldest month, but when you get into late February people want to see temperatures warm up," Clark said.

"Instead we're seeing the coldest part of the winter so far."

The normal temperature for this time of year is a high in the mid 30s and a low in the 20s. .

But at least this freeze is nowhere near as cold as the lowest temperature ever recorded in the state: minus 51 at Vanderbilt, near Gaylord, on Feb. 9, 1934, according to the National Climatic Data Center.

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Extended forecast

Wednesday: Light snow showers into the afternoon. Accumulation 1/2 to 1 inch. Highs of 15 to 19 degrees.

Wednesday night: Partly cloudy with temperatures of - 2 to - 8. Wind chills down to -16.

Thursday: Partly cloudy with a high of 3 to 7 degrees. Wind gusts of 30 mph and wind chills of - 20.

Thursday night: Clear with lows of - 10 to - 16.

Friday: Mostly sunny until early afternoon. Highs of 10 to 14. Wind chills of - 14.

Friday night: Cloudy with a chance of light snow. Lows of 6 to 10.

Saturday: Cloudy with a 40 percent chance of snow. Highs of 26 to 30.

Saturday night: There is a 50 percent chance of snow. Lows of 16 to 20.

Sunday: Partly cloudy with a 40 percent chance of snow. Highs 23 to 27.

Sunday night: Partly cloudy with lows of - 4 to 2 above.