Next round of winter storm in SE Michigan could dump up to 10 inches

George Hunter Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

Snow is sweeping across southeast Michigan, leaving the heaviest totals of the season and difficult travel overnight before the next round expected to end by noon Tuesday with up to 10 inches more of snow.

Check out an updated weather story here

Snow was falling at a rate of 0.5 inches an hour north of interstates 96 and 696, with heavier totals in some spots, the National Weather Service said late Monday. Visibility could dip to as low as a half-mile, and winds were gusting near 20 mph, leading to areas of blowing snow and "treacherous travel conditions" and "near whiteout conditions" at times, the weather service said.

The heaviest snow was expected to arrive by 3 a.m., said Dave Kook, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

Up to 10 inches are expected in some areas before snowfall ends around noon Tuesday. 

Early snowfall totals included 2 inches in Canton Township and 1.5 inches in Garden City, the weather service reported.

Several cities in Metro Detroit have declared snow emergencies and thousands of vaccination appointments in Detroit and a vaccination clinic in Washtenaw County have been rescheduled as a winter weather warning for much of the region continues Tuesday. 

School districts including Brighton Area Schools, Bloomfield Hills Schools, L'Anse Creuse, Lincoln Park and Ann Arbor canceled classes.

A truck is loaded with salt at the Wayne County Roads I-94 Expressway Road Yard in Detroit on Feb. 15, 2021.
Monday night-Tuesday conditions.

Many of the cities that are declaring snow emergencies are asking residents to move cars from neighborhood streets to allow access to snow plows including:

  • Oak Park from 10 a.m. until 10 a.m. Wednesday
  • Sterling Heights starting at 7 a.m. Tuesday
  • Auburn Hills from 10 p.m. Monday until further notice
  • Hazel Park starting at 8 a.m. Tuesday
  • Charter Township of Canton from 6 p.m. Monday until 11:59 p.m. Tue
  • Grosse Pointe Woods from 7 p.m. Mon. until 48 hours after snow stops, unless the snow emergency is extended
  • Canton Township from 6 p.m. Monday thrghout 11:59 p.m. Tuesday

Some cities such as Auburn Hills and Sterling Heights will ticket and tow cars left on streets during the snow emergency, officials said in a news release. Auburn Hills will also tow vehicles left on Interstate 75, M-59 and major roadways. 

Snow begins to fall on South Main Street in Rochester, Michigan, on February 15, 2021.

While Detroit has not declared a snow emergency, the city is asking residents to move cars from the streets by 6 p.m. Monday, though officials said there are no plans to tow vehicles. 

Michigan State Police reported few crashes and spinouts on the roadways late Monday.

Due to the snow and expected difficult driving conditions, Detroit has rescheduled 3,000 vaccination appointments at the TCF Center on Tuesday for Saturday. The scheduled times for Tuesday's vaccination will remain the same for Saturday, the city said in a news release.

The Washtenaw County Health Department postponed all scheduled COVID-19 vaccination appointments for Tuesday and closed all non-essential operations. The Macomb County Health Department will allow those who can't make their vaccinations on Tuesday to reschedule.

The Wayne County Treasurer’s Office at 400 Monroe in downtown Detroit will be closed on Tuesday and all appointments are slated to be rescheduled, officials said.

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The snowfall follows wintry weather that blanketed large swaths of the United States on Sunday and Monday, leaving more than 120 million Americans under winter storm warnings, watches or ice storm warnings from coast-to-coast, the National Weather Service said.

Snow is expected early Monday, then again Monday night into Tuesday morning.

The weekend weather pattern caused canceled flights and power outages nationally, and produced snow, ice, rain and sleet that led to perilous driving conditions, reaching, in an unusual event, into areas as far south as the Texas Gulf Coast, the Associated Press reported, where demand for power has led to outages.

In southeast Michigan, according to the National Weather Service website, "Slippery travel is possible ... with hazardous travel developing Monday evening into the Tuesday morning commute for many areas."

The weather agency forecasts 6-10 inches of snow overnight in southeast Michigan, and expects totals near 3 inches in the tricounty area and totals of about 6 inches around Lake Huron to Metro Detroit and Downriver to the Ohio border before Tuesday afternoon.

Drier conditions are expected Tuesday and Wednesday. 

Then, on Thursday, more snow and a high of 29 and low of 20. " ... Another shot for several inches of accumulation on Thursday," the weather service forecast discussion said.

An ice fishermen makes the long walk across Gibraltar Bay in Grosse Ile Township to set up his shanty and fish for perch on Friday. Metro Detroit has seen above-average snowfall in February.

Tuesday's high will be near 20 with a wind chill as low as 1 below; Tuesday night is expected to see a low near zero  before Wednesday temperatures rise to a high of 20.

The average high in mid-February is in the mid 30s, weather service records show. The normal low is in the 20s.

Through Monday afternoon, before the storm, Detroit Metro Airport had received 10.1 inches of snow for the month — nearly double the average amount, according to the weather service.

"It's been higher than average so far in February, but if you go back to Dec. 1, the snow total has been 24.3 inches at Metro Airport, which is below the average of 27.2 inches," National Weather Service meteorologist Cory Behnke said. "But with the snow that's expected Monday and Tuesday, we'll surpass that average (since Dec. 1) as well."