Plunge to arctic cold follows surge of snow in Michigan
The next round of winter weather ushers in life-threatening temperatures beginning Tuesday night.
The National Weather Service said the next three days have the potential for record-breaking cold.
"Extremely cold weather is forecast this week as an Arctic air mass settles over the region and brings record or near-record cold," the weather service said Monday.
Temperatures are expected to fall below zero on Tuesday evening. It won't be until Thursday, "if not Friday" that they are expected to rise above zero.
"Wind will be gusty at times, especially Tuesday night and Wednesday," the weather service said. "Wind chill values will range between -25 and -45 during this time."
Several school districts across the region announced closures Tuesday, including Anchor Bay School District, Monroe Public Schools, New Haven Community Schools, Richmond Community Schools, Romeo Community Schools, Port Huron Area School District and Lapeer Community Schools.
David Ellis Academy, a charter school with locations in Detroit and Redford Township, is expected to be closed the rest of the week, administrators announced on Facebook.
A wind chill watch is in effect for much of the region from late Tuesday through early Thursday.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has declared a state of emergency to help respond to public health and safety threats resulting from the plunge in temperatures.
“Such widespread, extreme conditions have not occurred in Michigan for many years and it is imperative that we are proactive with record-low temperatures being predicted by the National Weather Service," a news release from the governor said.
Wednesday's high is expected to dip to minus 2, more than 30 degrees below normal for the date, then plunge to minus 10 overnight, according to weather service data. The record low for the date is minus 4.
Readings Thursday are forecast to reach the single digits and dip to around minus 7, the record low set in 1920, weather service figures show.
The thermometer tops out in the teens on Friday.
“Residents should take these conditions seriously and stay informed," said Paul Taylor, a regional administrator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. “... These types of life-threatening wind chills could lead to frostbite on exposed skin in a matter of minutes."
The arrival of sub-zero temperatures prompted communities to announce warming centers and share safety tips, such as limiting time outdoors, especially for senior citizens, children and pets.
in Detroit, a warming center is available for families through March 31 at Cass Community Social Services, 1534 Webb, from 4 p.m. to 8 a.m. The Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries has two sites open 24 hours: one for men at 3535 Third Avenue, another for women and children at 3840 Fairview.
Men, women and children also are accepted 24 hours daily at Lake Ridge Villages, 15941 Fairfield. City recreation centers and Detroit Public Library branches also will serve as respite/warming centers during operating hours, according to the website.
Farmington Hills opened the Costick Center, 28600 W. 11 Mile, as a warming center through Sunday. It's available 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. through Friday and 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Canton Township has two warming centers. Canton Public Library, 1200 S. Canton Center Road, is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. Summit on the Park, 46000 Summit Parkway, is open 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. through Friday; 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday; and 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.
As the cold descends, Consumers Energy is advising residents to install a carbon monoxide alarm, make sure furnaces are operating efficiently and keep space heaters away from flammable materials.
Among other safety tips, the utility said: "Unplug space heaters before leaving the room or going to sleep. Never use a stove top or oven or charcoal grill to heat your home. Never use a generator inside a home, basement or garage. Keep them outdoors at least 25 feet from the home."
Also Monday, the National Weather Service reminded pet owners to keep their furry friends inside in winter and especially as temperatures turn freezing.
"Remember, if you're cold, they're cold," the weather service wrote on Twitter. "Bring them indoors and keep them warm during this dangerous arctic outbreak."
Police in Bath Township, near East Lansing, took a different tack with pet owners.
"Surprise us once and for all by bringing your pets inside this week," the department said on its Facebook page. "If not, we’re handcuffing you to a tree outside in shorts and a T-Shirt."
The deep freeze follows a day of near-constant snowfall to start the workweek.
Through Monday evening, snowfall totals included 8 inches in Lapeer County’s Columbiaville; 6 in Flint; 5.5 in Dryden and West Bloomfield Township; 5.2 in Saline and White Lake Township; 5 in Ypsilanti and Shelby Township; 4.5 in Ann Arbor; 4 in Royal Oak; 3.9 in Clarkston, Romulus and Northville; 3.8 in Livonia; 3.5 in Howell; 3.4 in Wixom; 3.2 in Wyandotte; and 3.1 in Garden City, the National Weather Service reported.
The storm's impact was felt across the state.
State government offices closed in the Lower Peninsula on Monday.
Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti canceled classes, while Wayne State closed for the day at 1:30 p.m. Community colleges in Wayne, Washtenaw, Oakland and Macomb counties also closed.
The conditions also contributed to crashes and road closures, from mid-Michigan to Genesee County.
Jack-knifed semis were reported on U.S. 23 in Washtenaw County and I-96 in Eaton County's Delta Township.
Closer to home, Michigan State Police officials tended to 17 crashes around rush hour. The agency also said it handled six crashes on Metro Detroit freeways and a jack-knifed semi on west Interstate 94 at 26 Mile in Macomb County. They also said the left lane of I-94 from Detroit Metro Airport to Detroit's city limits was impassable.
In Grand Rapids, more than 60 flights out of the Gerald Ford airport were canceled through late Monday, according to FlightAware.com.
The website also showed Detroit Metro Airport had more than 300 flight delays and 96 cancellations through Monday evening.
Several communities,including Warren, Canton Township, Wixom, Fraser, Auburn Hills, Pontiac, Bloomfield Township and Ferndale declared snow emergencies, which required motorists to not park on the street so streets could be cleared.
Ferndale police warned people on Twitter to move their vehicles, saying "We can’t ticket everyone. We’d rather you move ur 🚗 off the street as of 7 a.m. Don’t do it for us. Do it for the guy who got a ticket 5 yrs ago and is still all up in his feelings over it. He’s gonna tweet about it until May. Do it for him!"
Ann Arbor city government, including its court system, closed for the day at 2 p.m., as did the 18th District Court in Westland, both announced early afternoon.
Iconic Detroit restaurant Slows Bar BQ said on Twitter it was closing its Michigan Avenue location early.
"The weather outside is quickly turning ugly," its tweet said. "We’ve decided to close MI ave for the remainder of the day to avoid any one of you, or our staff getting hurt. Slows To Go is still open for now, stay tuned for updates. Be safe out there everyone!"
The Associated Press contributed.