Record-smashing snow gives way to days of arctic temperatures in SE Michigan
Detroit — The region's snowiest Veterans Day on record is leaving a mess on the roads through early Tuesday, then days of arctic air replace snowfall.
The forecast calls for overnight lows around 20. Temperatures Tuesday are expected to reach the mid-20s then fall into the teens.
Some districts are slated to be closed Tuesday, including Armada Area Schools, Ann Arbor Public Schools, Harper Woods, Madison District Public and Ypsilanti Community Schools.
Wednesday's high is set to hover below freezing, or more than 20 degrees below average for mid-November.
"There is another chance for snow Wednesday night into early Thursday, but not as intense as today," meteorologist Trent Frey said.
The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for Huron County until 4 p.m. Tuesday, where accumulations could top 12 inches, and Sanilac and St. Clair until 5 a.m. Tuesday.
A winter weather advisory is in effect until midnight for Bay, Saginaw, Shiawassee, Genesee, Lapeer, Livingston, Oakland, Macomb, Washtenaw, Wayne, Lenawee and Monroe counties.
In the Upper Peninsula, the National Weather Service's Marquette office estimated snowfall totals in Munising and Grand Marais reaching 12-18 inches through Tuesday, while Newberry on the east side could see 8-12 inches.
The Thumb could see double-digit snowfall. "There was more intense snowfall in the Thumb, and they could see about 20 inches of snow in isolated areas," said Frey.
The weather service said an arriving arctic air mass dumped enough snow in Metro Detroit by 1 p.m. Monday to surpass the record for the date, 4.1 inches, set in 1984.
Detroit Metro Airport recorded at least 6 inches through Monday evening.The weather service reports only two other November days have reached that mark, in 1925 and 2015.
Other totals through Monday evening included 9.6 in Wixom; 9.3 in Lake Orion and Ann Arbor; 9 in Huntington Woods; 8.8 in White Lake Township; 8.5 in Northville; 8 in Southgate; 7.5 in Livonia and Ypsilanti; 6.6 in Garden City; 5.5 in Wayne; and 5 in St. Clair Shores, the weather service reported.
That's a tad early for this much snow. "This pattern is more typical of January," Frey said.
Dealing with the winter blast
Henry Malone, 72, was philosophical about the mid-November snow as he shoveled in front of his Southfield home Monday morning.
“It’s that time of year, although this year it’s a bit early," said Malone, who moved to Michigan from Mississippi in 1970. He said after 49 years in Michigan, he’s used to the snow, but, he said, it took some getting used to.
“It’s different down there,” he said. “Up here when it snows, it’s no big deal, but in the South if you get a little snow like this, everything stops.”
Lisa Jabbori, whose family owns the 10 Mile and Greenfield Sunoco gas station in Southfield, said business, like the weather, has been brisk Monday.
“We’ve gone through four snow shovels, 8-9 snow brooms, a bunch of windshield solvent, gloves and hats,” she said in the morning. “Customers have been coming in all morning filling up gas cans; I asked if they ran out of gas and they all said it’s for their snowblowers.”
Jabbori said there were “a bunch of spinouts and accidents” outside the station on Greenfield during the morning rush hour.
“It snows a little, and people forget how to drive,” she said.
At Tim Hortons in Highland Park, Carlos Woods was having breakfast and looking out at the white landscape.
“I knew it was coming, so I wasn’t worried about it,” said Woods, 68. “Whatever the Lord wants, I accept. We should be used to it by now. It’s Michigan.”
Nearby, 75-year-old Freddie Patterson, also a Highland Park resident, said he pulled out his steel-toe boots in anticipation of more snow.
“That’s God’s work,” he said, gesturing outside. “He knows what he is doing.”
Meanwhile, at the McDonald’s on Woodward in Midtown, Dennis King said the snow reminds him of the upcoming holidays.
“Christmas is coming soon,” said King, 61. “Santa Claus is coming to town and it’s going to be a white Christmas.”
Joking aside, King added: “The snow will probably be gone by the weekend.”
Bradley Bailey, who was shoveling for companies on Woodward near Lewiston in Ferndale, smiled as he welcomed the first snowfall of the season.
Snowfall translates into good business for his employer, a local landscaping company.
“We like it when it snows,” said Bailey as he pushed snow away from the sidewalk. “That’s where our money is.”
Mary Schmitt of Ferndale walked along Woodward bundled up for the early snowfall.
“My clothes are prepared,” said Schmitt. “I have to go dig up my snow shovel and I’ve gotta get de-icer.”
Schmitt said she “can’t complain” because she has relatives in Marquette who are dealing with more snow than Metro Detroit is getting.
“The last few years, we’ve been lucky and now it’s our turn,” said Schmitt.
"I guess we can’t complain. This is the first snowy Veterans Day I can remember.”
'A clash of the air masses'
National Weather Service meteorologist Steven Freitag said the daylong snowfall comes from a "clash of the air masses," with moist air from the Ohio Valley interacting with arctic air from Canada.
The mass brought snow and ice to an area stretching from the Rocky Mountains to northern New England on Monday. It also was just the first punch from a weather system that pushed frigid air from Siberia across an area stretching from the Rocky Mountains to the East Coast. Temperatures below freezing were forecast as far south as Texas’ Gulf Coast.
Its output affected schools and travel across southeast Michigan.
Cities including Auburn Hills, Canton Township, Center Line and Warren declared snow emergencies Monday.
The snowfall pushed some Metro Detroit school districts to dismiss students early Monday. Many, including Berkley, Bloomfield Hills, Farmington, Rochester, Wayne-Westland and Warren Consolidated, cancelled evening activities.
At Detroit Metro Airport, FlightAware.com reported more than 680 delays and 130 cancellations through late Monday.
Michigan State Police warned motorists to carry an emergency kit, have a fully charged phone and have extra clothing. Of course, it said, slow down.
Though the first major snow of the season may have prompted concerns for commuters, some 75% of fatal crashes in Michigan last year took place on dry roadways, and 63% took place in dry weather conditions, according to the Office of Highway Safety Planning, an office of Michigan State Police.
Additionally, 45% of crash fatalities in Michigan were the result of single-vehicle crashes.
Staff Writers Mark Hicks and Charles E. Ramirez and the Associated Press contributed.