Michiganders will be dealing with yet another round of nasty winter weather this week. The first period of snowfall is an Alberta Clipper storm that was pushing quickly southeast on Sunday. Snow fell at a rate of one inch every three hours Sunday night in portions southern Michigan. Overnight Sunday, a second round of snow driven by winds fell across the state’s lower peninsula making travel very hazardous and even impossible in some areas. Road conditions will be poor Monday in heavily populated areas such as Detroit, Ann Arbor, Lansing and Jackson so drivers are being urged to give themselves more time to get to where they’re going.
Snow will continue to fall in the Great Lakes State Tuesday when wind chills will drop to between -25 and -35. Wind chills that low can easily cause frostbite in 20 minutes so it’s necessary for people to really bundle up before heading outdoors. People are being told that if they have to travel Monday to make sure they’re driving a reliable vehicle and to keep their gas tanks full.
The temperatures in Michigan on Tuesday will have a hard time reaching above zero in many locations. However, the big factor will be the wind as the cold won’t be a calm one. Winds will be blowing up to 20 mph from Monday through Wednesday, which not only makes it dangerous to be outside but blowing and drifting snow will occur as well.
The extreme cold and blowing snow that is lingering in the Midwest has already caused many problems ranging from deadly car accident pile-ups to school closings. On Sunday, about 30 vehicles collided on I-696 in the Detroit suburb of Warren, closing down the westbound lanes for several hours. Two people lost their lives in western Michigan this weekend when they were involved in a crash on a Grand Haven area freeway.
In western Michigan, 16 inches of snow came down by 6pm Sunday in Van Buren County, making travel there extremely dangerous. Amtrak announced Sunday that it was being forced to cancel some rains running between Detroit and Chicago Monday due to extreme weather conditions.
Fire Departments in many Midwestern locations were busy this weekend putting out blazes caused by people using heat guns and blowtorches while trying to thaw frozen pipes. Instead of thawing the pipes, the devices being used instead accidentally ignited materials inside the walls. This is why nothing more powerful than an ordinary hair dryer should ever be used to thaw pipes. The key to avoiding frozen pipes inside a home or business is to prepare for the cold temperatures by leaving water dripping from faucets and to use heat tape or insulation on pipes.