Balmy temps not a mirage — but won't last

Ursula Watson
The Detroit News

Farmington Hills — The slightly balmy weather Metro Detroiters took advantage of on Saturday comes to an abrupt end Sunday night when temperatures once again tumble to near frigid for the next week.

The temperature reached a high of 24 degrees Saturday with a low of 17 degrees on Saturday night. Sunday's high is expected to reach 26 degrees and drop to minus 7 degrees by nightfall.

"It looks like we'll hold onto this cold for the next seven days," meteorologist Heather Orow, at the National Weather Service, said Saturday night. Orow said some snow flurries will hit the area on Sunday

Monday's high: 12 degrees.

But area residents made full use of the warm break on Saturday with folks dashing to the car wash to rid their vehicle's of that all too familiar mix of dirt and salt.

Beverly Church was one of many drivers waiting patiently in their vehicles at the Farmington Hills' Super Car Wash at 12 Mile and Orchard Lake around 10:30 a.m.

Church said she wanted to take advantage of Saturday's "heatwave" to get her Ford Flex cleaned for a night out on the town.

"We are going to a show and the car is coated with salt and I wanted to get it off," said Church of Farmington Hills.

"This feels balmy compared to where we have been," said meteorologist Sara Schultz of the Weather Service.

Super Car Wash customer David Glowackiand longtime Farmington Hills resident, also made good use of the warmup to rid the 10-day grimy salt build-up from his SUV.

Warren Nall, manager of Super Car Wash said cold weather is not a deterrent.

"A regular winter day, is a thousand cars," said Nall. "People come no matter what the temperature is. On Friday we did 800 cars. When it was as cold as it was yesterday (Friday) their cars were freezing up as soon as I power-sprayed them."

The temperatures across the region Friday were downright scary: minus 9 in Port Huron; minus 9 in Pontiac; minus 12 in Flint and White Lake Township; minus 17 in Gaylord; minus 18 in Newberry; minus 21 in Marquette; and a knee-knocking minus 26 in Pellston. The minus 13 reading at Detroit Metro Airport broke the record low of minus 8 for Feb. 20, set in 1934.

The current teeth-chatter temperatures are a bit out of the ordinary, said Schultz.

"Our normals this time of year are in the high 30s," she said.

The Original $3 Car Wash at Grand River Avenue and Orchard Lake Road in Farmington Hills, had cleaned 300 hundred cars by mid-Saturday morning, said James Keating, manager. On Friday Keating said 1,000 cars were washed.

"When it was four below, we washed 500 cars," said Keating. "They line-up all the time. No matter what."

Husband and wife David and Melissa Vogel and their two young sons, stopped at The Original $3 Car Wash, to get their Jeep a much needed rinse. The Vogels recently moved to Farmington Hills from Grand Rapids.

Having a clean car is important because on the side of the Jeep is the name of Melissa Vogel's business, Tutoring Your Way, as well as its phone number and email address.

The Vogels, who said it had been a couple of months since they last washed their vehicle, try as often as possible to wash itto avoid salt corrosion.

Drivers like Marie Brown, who are more do-it-yourself, headed to a coin-operated car wash on Orchard Lake Road in Farmington Hills.

Brown was busy vacuuming the interior of her black 2014 Sonata while a steady stream of drivers filled the stalls, giving their vehicles a needed cleaning.

She said she likes taking her car to a coin-operated car wash because its cheaper. And by doing it herself, she doesn't have to worry about streaks or scratches from automatic car wash systems.

"I like a clean car and I am concerned about the salt," said Brown of Detroit. "At one point my black car was white. It is cold. My hands are cold but I needed to get it done."

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