Schools close as ‘brutal’ forecast signals -10 to -22

Holly Fournier
The Detroit News

Overnight temperatures are expected to range from minus 10 to minus 22 for parts of southeast Michigan, the National Weather Service said.

For areas closer to Detroit, temperatures will be around minus 7 while farther north, such as Bad Axe and Lapeer, will experience temperatures as low as minus 22. A wind chill advisory is in effect until 10 a.m. Friday for southeast Michigan.

It will be another bitterly cold day Friday in Metro Detroit, with temperatures rising only into the mid-teens.

Some local school districts canceled classes again Thursday afternoon, including Bloomfield Hills, Farmington, Fraser, Huron Valley, Lake Orion, L’Anse Creuse, New Haven, Northville and Warren Woods, giving some students a long stretch off that began Wednesday.

Friday morning’s forecast is for a low of minus 8, which would match the record for Feb. 20 set in 1934.

“Friday morning is going to be a very brutal morning,” said Deb Elliot, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

The mercury struggled to 6 degrees Thursday afternoon at Detroit Metro Airport, according to the weather service. Friday’s high will be warmer at 14, with a 30 percent chance of snow.

Temperatures bottomed out Thursday morning at 5 below zero, breaking the previous Feb. 19 record of minus 4 set in 1936.

Wind chills Thursday morning plunged to minus 22 degrees, Elliot said.

According to Elliot, the weekend should bring more snow as well as a welcome spike in temperatures.

“It’s going to warm up with that (snow) system, so the temperature on Saturday gets up to 30 degrees,” Elliot said.

There is a 70 percent chance of snow Saturday night as well as Sunday.

The low temperature Saturday night should be around 23 degrees with a high Sunday of 26 degrees, Elliot said.

As Detroiters return to work Monday, the region will return to frigid temperatures.

“Sunday night, the low temperature drops to around zero,” Elliot said. “So Monday morning we’re back to around zero degrees.”

Family pets should be protected, said Michigan Human Society spokesman Ryan McTigue.

McTigue said state law requires that outdoor dogs have access to food, water and proper shelter, such as a doghouse lifted off the ground.

“Use straw for insulation instead of blankets and towels because they absorb moisture and can freeze,” he said.

MHS offers free straw at its Detroit Center for Animal Care at 7401 Chrysler Drive. The straw is available 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday.

In cold weather, animals need 10 percent to 20 percent more food than normal, McTigue said.

“You’re going to want to feed them more than you normally do because they’re burning calories just trying to stay warm.”

But with recent temperatures plunging below zero, those provisions may not be adequate, McTigue said. MHS recommends animals be brought inside when temperatures or wind chills reach 15-20 degrees.

“We’re finding that there are some dogs that won’t make it through the night with these temperatures,” said Elliot, who added MHS teams receive up to 30 calls a day about animals in need of help.

“It’s just too cold, so we’re trying to get everyone to get their pets inside.”

McTigue said outdoor pets with behavior problems are better off locked in a crate or laundry room than they are exposed to the elements outside.

“When it gets to this point, it’s not worth the risk of leaving them outside.”

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Staff Writer Candice Williams contributed to this report.

Extended forecast

Friday: Increasing clouds. Highs about 14. Wind chills as low as 12 below.

Friday night: Cloudy with a chance of snow after 9 p.m. Low around 8.

Saturday: Cloudy with a 70 percent chance of snow, 1 to 2 inches. High near 30.

Saturday night: Cloudy with snow before 8 p.m.. Low around 18.

Sunday: Partly sunny with high near 22.

Sunday night: Partly cloudy with low around 3 below.

Monday: Mostly sunny with high near 11.

Monday night: Partly cloudy with low around zero.