Wintry mix makes mess of evening commutes
Warming temperatures should clear roads of ice in time for Tuesday morning commutes after a nasty mix of ice, snow and rain descended on southeast Michigan.
The storm hit much of the Lower Peninsula on Monday, caused scattered power outages and made travel out of Detroit Metropolitan Airport a nightmare. Some 150 flights were canceled and another 325 were delayed, according to FlightStats.com, which traffics air traffic worldwide.
Temperatures began rising in the mid-evening and by 11 p.m., freezing rain had turned to showers. Temperatures are expected to be above 40 degrees Tuesday morning.
“It will hopefully be a better commute (Tuesday) because we won’t have freezing precipitation to deal with,” said Sara Schultz, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in White Lake Township,
The storm sent salt trucks out in force throughout southeast Michigan. Police recorded more than a dozen crashes on area freeways during the afternoon and early evening commute. Motorists vented on social media, reporting cars sliding through stop signs in Lake Orion and roads icing over in Downriver.
In Georgetown Township outside Grand Rapids, the National Weather Service measured 4.5 inches of sleet.
The weather isn’t expected to affect Michigan State University fans traveling to Dallas on Tuesday for the Spartans’ game against Alabama in the Cotton Bowl on Thursday night.
“There will be some lake effect snow showers, but nothing major,” Schultz said. “Not like what’s happening today.”
High temperatures are expected to dip into low 30s after Tuesday, which is normal for this time of year.
Earlier Monday, Gov. Rick Snyder activated the state’s Emergency Operations Center and closed Lower Peninsula state offices at 1 p.m.
The Emergency Operations Center, located in Lansing and overseen by the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division, coordinates response and recovery efforts by state agencies and local government, officials said. It will remain activated this week until its operations are no longer required.
Snyder’s announcement came hours after a winter weather advisory went into effect from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday, covering the counties of Wayne, Macomb, Oakland, Livingston, St. Clair, Monroe, Washtenaw, Lenawee, Lapeer, Genesee and Shiawassee, according to the weather service.
Capt. Chris A. Kelenske, deputy state director and Michigan State Police commander of emergency management and homeland security, had urged residents to prepare for the storm.
“Freezing rain has the ability to be very destructive, causing both long-term power outages and hazardous travel conditions,” Kelenske said.
“I strongly recommend anyone who may be affected by this storm to ensure they have enough supplies to last three days per person.”
Road conditions for travelers are available at michigan.gov/roadconditions and michigan.gov/drive, or by calling the Michigan State Police travel advisory hotline at (800) 381-8477.