Packard Plant partial demolition begins

No real feel: Lows to hit -25 at Soo

Candice Williams
The Detroit News

Think it’s cold in Metro Detroit? Residents up north in Sault Ste. Marie are bracing for temperatures of 25 degrees below zero on Thursday.

The Upper Peninsula town between Lakes Superior and Huron will have high temperatures of just -3 Thursday and -6 on Friday, with nighttime lows of -25 and -23, respectively, according to the National Weather Service.

If the forecast holds true, Sault Ste. Marie could tie its record-low temperature for Jan. 5 with that day in 1896. The record low for the Soo on Jan. 6 is one degree colder, -26 degrees, set in 1912, according to Weather Underground historical data.

Temperatures are expected to drop to 25 below zero Jan. 5 at Sault Ste. Marie

The all-time low recorded at Sault Ste. Marie is -37 degrees in 1934, according to Intellicast, a provider of weather forecasting services.

Temperatures there are overall 10 to 15 degrees below average for this time of year, said Matt Gillen, a meteorologist with the weather service in Gaylord.

“We’re locked in a wintertime pattern with a lot of cold air funneling down from Canada. It has nowhere to go except in the air the rest of the week,” he said.

A wind chill reading of 40 degrees below zero is expected at sunrise Friday.

“Frostbite can happen in a matter of minutes with temperatures that cold,” he said.

Big chill: First snow in decades puts Fla., South in deep freeze

In southeast Michigan, the weather service issued a wind chill advisory Tuesday night that will expire at 10 a.m. Wednesday for Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, St. Clair, Livingston, Washtenaw, Lenawee and Monroe counties. Wind chills are expected to range from 10 below zero to 20 below zero.

The frigid temperatures have already claimed at least one life. An elderly Roseville woman was found frozen to death Wednesday on an elementary school playground, authorities said.

The 96-year-old woman's body, who lived near the school, was found dressed in a nightgown, robe and slippers, Roseville Police officials said.

Police chief James Berlin said the woman had recently been diagnosed with early-stage dementia and her body showed no signs of foul play.

Her death comes days after the body of a man who Detroit Police believe froze to death was found in front of a church.

On Wednesday, AAA Michigan issued an arctic air advisory encouraging people to keep at least a half-tank of gas in the car; postpone car washes until temps rise above freezing and make sure your car battery is in good condition.

The bitterly cold temperatures and wind could cause frostbite to exposed skin and hypothermia. Anyone who ventures outside is cautioned to wear hats and gloves.

“With wind chills near negative 15 degrees, frostbite can set in in about 30 minutes if not properly dressed,” said Alex Manion, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in White Lake Township. “Those that live in Michigan know the drill. Covering up extremities, wearing multiple layers are vital to protecting yourself.”

Temperatures Wednesday in Metro Detroit are expected to peak in the low to mid-teens, then drop back below zero overnight.

“This theme is going to continue through the end of the week,” Manion said.

The reason for such low wind chills is a shift in jet stream patterns that allow Arctic air to settle in the area, he said.

On Thursday and Friday, the highs will reach the mid to upper single digits, with lows around zero, according to the weather service. On Saturday, the high may reach the lower teens.

Things will warm up Sunday with a high near 30.

On Tuesday, the cold weather caused pipes to burst at both the Lakes of Taylor Golf Course and Taylor City Hall, according to the Taylor Police Department. The extent of the damage was not known.

To help residents stay warm during the brutal weather some communities have opened warming centers.

The city of Detroit has several respite centers during the winter months with varying day and evening hours, including Adams Butzel Center at 10500 Lyndon, Butzel Family Center at 7737 Kercheval, Crowell Recreation Center at 19601 Lahser and the Northwest Activities Center at 18100 Meyers.

In response to the cold temperatures, Westland opened warming centers around the city Tuesday. The centers will remain open the rest of the week. The locations are the Jefferson Bares Community Vitality Center at 32150 Dorsey, William P. Faust Public Library at 6123 Central City Parkway and Westland Friendship Center at 1119 Newburgh.

The Dearborn Police Department is warning motorists not to leave their vehicles unattended and unlocked to warm them up, citing several thefts recently.

“... if the vehicle is left unattended this is an excellent opportunity for a car thief to steal the vehicle,” police said in an advisory Tuesday. “ If you prefer you may install a remote starter in your vehicle. A remote starter is a relatively inexpensive option to warm up your vehicle safely.”

During this winter’s bitter cold spell, the Michigan Humane Society is warning dog owners to provide proper shelter for their pets, particularly in temperatures below 15 to 20 degrees for all dogs, big and small. Dogs are safest inside the home with their families, according to the society.

Other options are to have a doghouse inside a weather-resistant shelter such as a garage, shed or three-season room. At minimum, a dog should have a raised, insulated doghouse with plenty of dry straw for bedding and 10 to 20 percent more food than usual. The doghouse should be large enough for the dog to stand up in and lay down comfortably, and face east, away from the wind.

Dog owners who fail to provide adequate shelter face penalties including up to 93 days in prison, up to 200 hours of community service and a fine of up to $1,000.

Twitter: CWilliams_DN