Storm dumps more than 7 inches of snow in some Metro Detroit areas
Metro Detroiters on Thursday continued to dig out of the first big snowstorm of the season, which dumped more than 7 inches of snow in some areas, and residents can expect to see more accumulation leading into the weekend coupled with cold, the National Weather Service said.
A slight chance of snow is expected Friday due to a “clipper” system, followed by as much as 1-3 inches late Saturday, said Dave Gurney, a meteorologist with the weather station in White Lake Township.
Temperatures are forecast to top out in the 20s and drop into the teens by Sunday.
“We’re headed into a wintry pattern,” Gurney said.
After a January that has seen below-average totals, affecting ski operators and others reliant on winter winter, Wednesday marked the region's most significant snowfall.
Snow blanketed communities in much of southeast Michigan, prompting dozens of school districts to cancel classes and some cities to issue snow emergencies.
Some school districts plan to remain closed on Thursday as the region digs out. The districts include Anchor Bay, Armada Area, Carsonville-Port Sanilac, Dexter, Dundee, Monroe Public Schools, North Branch Area, Port Huron, Richmond, Sandusky and Yale.
A winter storm warning ended early for St. Clair, Sanilac and Huron.
A small craft advisory is in effect until 9 p.m. Thursday for parts of Saginaw Bay, where wave heights could top 10 feet amid wind gusts around 24 knots, the weather service said.
Areas east of Chelsea and Port Huron and eastern counties in the Thumb near Lake Huron were expected to notch the heaviest snowfall, the weather service said.
Detroit Metro Airport in Romulus had already set a snowfall record for the date, with more than 6 inches. It beat the previous record of 4 inches set in 1898.
Other totals included 3.6 in Flint, 6 in Fenton, 6.2 in Wyandotte, 7.1 in Shelby Township, 7.4 in St. Clair Shores, and 7.5 in Royal Oak and Troy.
DTE Energy reported 6,345 customers without power early Thursday; the outages were scattered throughout Metro Detroit. Consumers Energy said 1,530 customers had no power early Thursday.
Four warming centers were open Wednesday around Detroit in addition to Detroit libraries, which are open to the public and serve as warming locations, police said in a tweet.
Warming centers at Cass Community Social Services and the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries on Mack Avenue was open to families and single women, the John D. Dingell VA Medical Center was open to shelter veterans, and the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries on Third Avenue was open to single men.
Meanwhile, about 360 flights were delayed at Detroit Metro Airport on Wednesday, according to flightaware.com. Nearly 80 were canceled.
State police said about fifteen crashes had been reported by 2 p.m., including one on Interstate 94 near Mt. Elliott that involved a tanker semitractor-trailer. The driver was traveling east and too fast for the weather conditions, MSP reported in a tweet. The driver lost control of the truck and crashed into the median, leaking fuel onto the freeway and scattering debris. The freeway was closed in both directions for cleanup and the driver was uninjured, MSP said.
In Detroit, representatives said its Department of Public Works crews were "moving through the city at a steady pace plowing and salting 673 miles of major thoroughfares as contractors plow 1884 miles of neighborhood residential streets starting at midnight tonight. Crews have been out since 7 o’clock this morning and 50 trucks will continue around the clock until all roads are clear."
Pleasant Ridge resident Mike Kirin, 32, left work in Detroit on Wednesday afternoon, knowing the snow would make roads congested by late afternoon. He said he was one of the drivers who was forced by the I-94 closure to take side streets, where the conditions were worse and trucks were fishtailing.
"I came home a little early because I knew the snow would get worse," said Kirin, who was shoveling snow.
He was joined by his wife, Jessica Kirin, 28, who was building a snowman. The storm was the biggest as far as snowfall the couple has seen since moving into the Oakland County community in the fall. Jessica Kirin, taking a break from remote work, said she wanted to take advantage of it.
Todd Herzig, 43, of Pleasant Ridge, who built a 6-foot snowman near the street with his three children, who were home from school after he got off work early.
"It started with me shoveling," Herzig said, "and turned into a snowman."
Matalie Oraha, 25, of Clinton Township and her husband didn't let the snow stop them from spending their day off together in downtown Detroit. Their children did not have a snow day, so the couple was "free" to enjoy Wednesday afternoon.
"Just because it's snowing, we can still go out and about," Oraha said. "I don't think it's going to get any worse. ... They're over dramatic about it."
Alexis Wenger, 22, lives in Detroit and was excited that the city was finally seeing snow after an otherwise gray winter, one that had so far lacked much snow.
"For the most part, this has been a weird winter and we haven't gotten much snow so it's nice to see," Wenger said.
Southeast Michigan has had below average snowfall in January. Before Wednesday's storm, the Metro Detroit had received 3.6 inches of snow this year, about 7.2 inches below the average of 10.8 inches at this point in January, the weather service said.
Alexa Szybiack, 29, of Mount Clemens and her 7-year-old son, Joseph, decided to make the best of Wednesday's snow. She said she had driven from her home to Costco in Roseville to fill up her gas tank and thought while she was in the neighborhood she would bring Joseph to the hill in Huron Park near Kelly and Frazho roads for sledding.
"I grew up around here and we always used to come to his hill to sled when we were kids," she said. "I figured I'd bring him over here for nostalgia's sake."
Joseph didn't seem to care why his mom brought him out. He said he was having fun as he sat in the snow.
"I think this storm is great," she said. "We're finally getting some snow."