Snow squalls cause whiteouts in west Michigan, ice makes driving treacherous
The wild wintry weather that blew into Metro Detroit on Friday is making a mess out of roads in some parts of Oakland County.
Margaret Robeson said the ice was so bad on Telegraph between 15 Mile and 16 Mile in Bloomfield Township at 9:30 p.m. that several cars – including hers – were stranded along the road.
“I’m terrified,” she said. “It’s horrible. No one can go anywhere.”
The Road Commission for Oakland County planned to have about 50 trucks — roughly half its fleet — salting roads through midnight or “longer, if needed,” spokesman Craig Bryson said. Officials are warning motorists to drive with extra caution.
Conditions were worse than expected earlier Friday evening, especially in northern areas of the county, he said. At 9:30 p.m., he said “things are in relatively decent shape in most places.”
Drivers should still watch out on the roads through early Saturday.
The National Weather Service predicts light snow showers overnight in the region, including swaths of Livingston and Oakland counties as well as along M-59. Totals should be less than an inch for many spots, but temperatures dipping into the 20s could make for slick roads, meteorologist Steven Freitag said.
“Be cautious of anything that looks wet on the roads — assume that’s a sheet of ice,” he said, adding that motorists should reduce speeds. “I wouldn’t take any chances.”
Hours earlier, the conditions caused a slew of problems elsewhere in Michigan.
The Grand Rapids Press reports white-out conditions Friday afternoon on U.S. 31 north of Grand Rapids led to a chain-reaction crash of roughly 50 vehicles. A stretch of the freeway was closed.
Crashes and road closures amid icy, snowy conditions have been reported in the Lansing, Kalamazoo, Flint, Saginaw, Ann Arbor and Detroit areas. Some people have been injured, including a person involved in a rollover crash on M-14 in Washtenaw County.
Meteorologist Steve Considine at the National Weather Service’s office in White Lake Township said brief, intense snow showers swept across the state. Accumulations have been relatively light but melted snow on roads iced over as temperatures dropped below freezing.
The front bands of the snowfall contributed to several accidents snarling rush-hour traffic on Interstate 96 east of Lansing. Accidents, including several that closed roads, were reported in Fowlerville, Interstate 696 near I-75, and I-75 near Flint, state officials said.
Later Friday, MDOT reported all eastbound lanes of I-96 were closed after the Okemos Road exit due to a crash involving 15 vehicles.
Drivers also took to social media to describe the weather-related hassles.
“This black ice ...,” one user wrote on Twitter. “we left Michigan State about 4 hours ago.. The fact that we’re just now passing through Brighton bothers me.”
Traveling should be smoother by Saturday morning.
Snow showers were expected to end in Metro Detroit and give way to partly sunny skies and highs around freezing, the weather service predicts.
Temperatures rebound after that. Highs Sunday could reach the 40s, then top out near 50 on Monday, when rain is expected.