How much snow did you get? Metro Detroit gets glancing blow from major system

Detroit — Despite projections of a massive snowstorm, Metro Detroit saw little more than 6 inches. 

In addition to about 6.2 inches of snow in the Metro area, there was nearly .75 inches of rain, according to National Weather Service data.

Tommy Moss of Ferndale brushes snow off his car along Spencer Street in Ferndale on Thursday, February 3, 2022.

The region had been told to prepare for as much as 16 inches in some areas, but those projections were downgraded, and then downgraded further late Wednesday. 

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In the end, the snowfall was about 10 inches less than the top estimate. Why? 

"The main one is it was such a slow transition from the rain to snow," said Sara Schultz, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in White Lake Township. "We were expecting it to change over sooner, but it held off longer."

Snowfall totals in Michigan:

Flint: 10 inches

Parts of Saginaw County: nearly 12 inches

Lapeer: 9 inches

Ypsilanti, Ann Arbor, Morenci and Monroe: 6 inches

In west and central Michigan, snowfalls were highest:

Battle Creek: 10 inches 

Kalamazoo: 11

Paw-Paw: 11.5

Okemos: 11.7 

Wayland: 11

Snow totals from the Feb. 2-3, 2022, snowfall

Winter blues

The cold and snowy weather didn’t suit Rezwan Uddin, the 22-year-old said as he brushed snow off his car in Hamtramck on Thursday morning.

He was preparing to go to work at a Warren grocery store and delayed his start time for an hour because of the snow.

“It’s really messy now,” he said as he cleared the car’s windows.

Uddin was in good spirits as he worked, but said he preferred last year’s dry winter to the current one.

“It was cold, but not like this,” he said. “This year is too much.”

As of Thursday morning, more than 6 inches fell in Detroit, far less than officials had anticipated.

DPW Director Ron Brundidge said that the city’s 36-hour residential plowing contract began at 6 a.m. Thursday to complete 1,884 miles of neighborhoods. The city does not plow residential streets without at least 6 inches of snow accumulation.

Initially, the city expected to plow its residential streets twice by Sunday, but Brundidge said, “That’s not going to be the case with the amount of snowfall that we received.”

By 6 p.m. Friday, contractors should be completed clearing all streets. Residents can report missed streets on the Improve Detroit App or by calling (313) 224-0033.

SMART, the bus system for suburban Detroit, is running on time with normal service, said Deputy General Manager Robert Cramer said.

“We’re actually running basically a regular day today as far as buses being on time, out on the roads," Cramer said. "It could have been a lot worse (during the storm Wednesday) but we really had minimal disruptions, other than drivers taking it slow and steady and safe yesterday when the snow was coming down.”

Cold temperatures settle in following snowfall across lower Michigan.

Massive system

Air travel into and out of Metro Airport in Romulus has been affected some on Thursday. Flightaware.com's Misery Map showed three flight delays and 23 cancellations at Detroit Metro.

Michigan got a glancing blow from a system affecting a long stretch of states from New Mexico to Maine, and the path of the storm stretched further from the central U.S. into more of the South and Northeast.

It snowed for hours in northwest Ohio, including in Toledo, where another 5 inches fell Thursday for more than 12 inches total Thursday night.

Heavy snow was expected from the southern Rockies to northern New England, while forecasters said heavy ice buildup was likely from Texas to Pennsylvania. 

Along the warmer side of the storm, strong thunderstorms capable of damaging wind gusts and tornadoes were possible Thursday in parts of Mississippi and Alabama, the Storm Prediction Center said.

Rey Hinojosa spent the morning scraping ice from the sidewalk in front of Book Suey, a cooperatively owned bookstore in Hamtramck.

It was a big task, which Hinojosa tackled with the help of another bookstore member-owner.

The bookstore is on the corner of Caniff and Jos. Campau, so it has lots of sidewalk to shovel. The rain that fell Wednesday morning created a layer of ice underneath the snow that fell Wednesday afternoon, and Hinojosa had forgotten to salt.

Gregory McGhee, left, and Carlos Pennington  shovel snow around their neighborhood, making a point to clear the homes of senior citizens on Lantz Street at Charest in Detroit on Thursday, February 3, 2022.

“I took it for granted that last night it was snowing,” he said, scraping thick ice into piles.

Clearing roadways

Craig Bryson, spokesman for the Road Commission of Oakland County, said that a lighter-than-predicted snowfall didn't result in any fewer resources during the snowfall.

"Whether it's four or 12 inches, that doesn't change," Bryson said.

But a shorter, less-intense storm means the dig-out will take less time than expected.

"If it continued to snow today, as was originally predicted, we could have been much more into a Friday, Saturday, Sunday cleanup," Bryson said. "Now we should have the majority of the system pretty well cleaned up by end of day today. That will allow us to begin to get into subdivision streets."

Michigan State Police warned the public against taking driving fast because the roads look relatively clear.  

Lt. Mike Shaw, commander and spokesman for the state police in Metro Detroit, wrote on Twitter that "it was a little rough for some yesterday as they overestimated their driving abilities and ended up in a ditch."

He advised drivers to go slow on their morning commute.

"Don’t let the sight of pavement fool you!" Shaw wrote. "It’s slippery out there!"

jdickson@detroitnews.com

Staff Writers Charles E. Ramirez, Sarah Rahal and AP contributed.