snow storm

Rachel Kramer / Creative Commons

It was a snowy January in Michigan; the snowiest on record for Flint and Detroit, according the the National Weather Service.

“We’ve had our fair share too, that’s for sure,” said Jared Sanders, assistant district supervisor of the Kalamazoo district’s water resources division. The division is a part of Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality.

I can vouch for it; huge piles of plowed snow are filling up the parking lots of many businesses here in Grand Rapids too.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The Lansing City Council picked a new president last night.

It’s a routine bit of government business that in recent years has been anything but routine.

Sharp divisions between the supporters and opponents of Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero have made the selection of a council president quite contentious during the past few years. Two years ago, the council needed a dozen votes to select a president. Last year, the selection process was rife with angry accusations.

But last night, A’Lynne Boles was elected president with little drama.  

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Gov. Rick Snyder has declared an energy emergency in the state due to a temporary heating oil and propane shortage.

The shortage was caused by a huge spike in demand due to the extreme cold and heavy snowfalls that delayed deliveries.

The governor's order suspends regulations on how many hours and how many consecutive days the fuel delivery drivers can work.

The order will in effect until January 31st unless the Governor rescinds it earlier.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michigan hospital emergency rooms and urgent care centers are seeing patients who’ve been injured during this cold snap.

Dr. Scott Lazzara is an urgent care physician at McLaren Greater Lansing.  He says he’s seen a lot of slip and falls.

“We’re seeing a lot of people who are falling, breaking their wrist, hurting their back, spraining their ankles,” says Lazzara.

Lazzara says people are so bundled up to fight the cold their vision is impaired and they're less able to avoid slipping and falling.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

This time the forecasters did not cry wolf. We got slammed by snow.

Now that the snow has fallen, we’re looking at winds and dangerous cold.

What's ahead and when will we see something resembling a more "typical" Michigan winter?

For the answers we turned to MLive meteorologist Mark Torregrossa, who also runs farmerweather.com.

I just got back yesterday from nearly two weeks in Ireland, and we were checking on Torregrossa’s reports as we got ready to fly back yesterday -- wondering if we were going to beat the snow and be able to land. The answer was "yes." He was spot-on in calling what was going to happen and when.

*Listen to the audio above.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

As Michigan descends into an arctic freeze, many cities and towns are struggling to clean up after Sunday’s big snowstorm.

“It’s just too dangerous for city residents to be outdoors,” Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero told reporters at a news conference today.

Bernero said many residential streets in Lansing are “impassable.”

“As we all remember from the 2011 storm, it takes a minimum of a couple days to clear all 440 miles of roads in the city,” Bernero said. “It will take at least a couple days this time as well. So we ask city residents to please be patient. Be safe.”

Taryn Nitz / Instagram

People are digging out from the snowstorm in much of Michigan today. 

So did this snowstorm break records in Michigan?

In Detroit, 10.6 inches fell during the storm, not enough to crack the top-10 list for snowstorms in this area.

Here are the biggest snowfalls recorded in the Detroit area according to the National Weather Service. Most of these storms occurred prior to 1930.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder says Michigan has put out every available road crew and has increased state police patrols in response to the heavy snowfall and the deep freeze forecast to follow it.

Snyder says Michigan residents can help, too, by looking in on friends and neighbors while staying off roads as much as possible.

A foot of snow was on the ground already by Sunday evening in parts of the Lower Peninsula, with more on the way.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - The harshest winter conditions in 20 years are heading for Michigan's Lower Peninsula, with up to 15 inches of snow forecast for parts of the state followed by temperatures diving as low as minus 15.

The National Weather Service predicts "the coldest temperatures Southeast Michigan has experienced in about 20 years."

It says snowfall will total 8-15 inches by late Sunday and a drop in temperatures of up to 45 degrees by Monday.

Michigan residents have been crowding stores seeking supplies.

Outdoor Power Equipment Institute

Some people who left gasoline in their snow blower last winter, and fired it up without refueling this winter, are finding out that was a mistake.

Almost all gasoline sold in Michigan has 10% ethanol in it. That gas, called E-10, destabilizes after a month. So firing up a small engine with old gas can damage the engine. 

Kris Kiser is president of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute. He says people should drain the old gas and replace it with new.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

Storm dumps at least 6 inches on Michigan

A wet snow storm dropped at least 6 inches of snow on part of Michigan. As the Associated Press reports,

"The National Weather Service says as of Wednesday morning 6 inches fell in the Grand Haven and Muskegon areas, while 5 inches fell between Lansing and Jackson. Four to 5 inches fell in Grand Rapids. Four inches fell in some Detroit suburbs and Saginaw," the Associated Press reports.

Low income earners could see bigger tax refunds under bill

"Low-income Michiganders would see bigger state income tax refunds under a bill in the state Legislature. Governor Rick Snyder and lawmakers aggressively cut the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit in recent years. The legislation would raise the credit to 20 percent of what the federal government offers. Right now, it’s at six percent," Jake Neher reports.

Mike Duggan announces run for Detroit mayor

The former Detroit Medical Center executive and Wayne County prosecutor, Mike Duggan has officially announced that he will be running for Detroit mayor. According to the Associated Press, "[Duggan] says he'll use his managerial and government experience to help turn around Detroit's finances and improve poor public services."

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

Gov. Snyder signs three bills for Detroit

"Governor Snyder was in Detroit yesterday to sign several bills he says will boost Detroit’s long-term fortunes. One bill establishes a Regional Transit Authority to fund and operate mass transit in southeast Michigan. Snyder also signed bills establishing an authority to run Detroit’s troubled public lighting system, and a downtown development district to subsidize a proposed new hockey arena for the Red Wings," Sarah Cwiek reports.

"End of the world" rumors close Genesee and Lapeer schools

"Schools are closed in Genesee and Lapeer counties today and tomorrow as a precaution and to calm people down. Police say they have determined that social media rumors about an armed ‘student revolt’ in conjunction with and "end of the world" Mayan prophecy were unfounded," Steve Carmody reports.

First snowstorm of the season sweeping the Midwest and northern Michigan

"Snow is falling in parts of northern Michigan as part of the Midwest's first major snowstorm of the season that's sweeping across several states. For parts of Michigan's northern Lower Peninsula, the weather service forecasts that 8 to 14 inches of snow will fall Thursday and into Friday. For parts of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, the weather service says that 8 to 13 inches of snow could fall by Friday afternoon. In West Michigan, several inches of snow could fall. Rain and snow are expected in southeast Michigan," the AP reports.

(photo by Jason Roland) / fleetgod-snowice.blogspot.com

Michigan is getting its first significant snowfall of the year this evening. If you live in southwest Michigan, you may notice the snowplow in front of you is moving slower than you’re used to.  

When a snow plow is dumping salt on icy roads, state Transportation officials refer to it as "Bounce & Scatter".   

As the salt hits the road, faster truck speeds mean more salt tends to bounce and scatter, much of it landing off the road. 

MDOT spokesman Nick Schirripa says to reduce the scatter salt trucks in nine southwest counties will slow from 35 to 25 miles per hour this winter. The hope is slower speed will save money by using less salt.  

But Schirripa admits the slower speeds could put the trucks at greater risk of being rear-ended by inattentive motorists.   

“If we find out after a season, or a few weeks of it, the crash rate is simply too high, that safety is too much of a factor, the (pilot) program may in fact be dropped," says Schirripa.  

If the slower salt truck pilot program is successful, it may eventually expand to the rest of the state.

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

 Lansing’s ordinance requiring people to shovel snow from their sidewalks might get a tweak before the snow flies this winter.   

Last night, the Lansing City Council voted to allow four people off the hook for failing to shovel snow from their sidewalks last winter.  The reason?  They either didn’t actually own the property last winter or there was an administrative mistake.  

Scott Denny / Flickr

The state's three main airports report business has returned almost to normal, after crews spent the evening clearing runways of snow and ice.  Up to ten inches fell overnight.  In many cases, that was more snow than fell during the so-dubbed "Snowpocalypse," a few weeks ago. 

Detroit Metro Airport spokesman Mike Conway says the big problem last night was the roadways leading to the airport.  He says it took a long time for taxis to return from outlying suburbs, and there was congestion as cars and taxis lined up outside terminals.

(courtesy of the Michigan governor's office)

Governor Rick Snyder has ordered the State Emergency Operations Center to be activated to track events related to the coming winter storm.

The governor says he's also ordered the Michigan National Guard to be ready to help local governments deal with emergencies that may arise.

The governor says he's also instructed state agencies to make sure hospitals, prisons, and other essential facilities are adequately staffed.

Forecasters say the snow is coming.  It’s expected to make travel hazardous on Michigan roads.

It’s also expected to cause another financial headache to many cash strapped Michigan cities and towns.

Anthony Minghine is the Associate Executive Director of the Michigan Municipal League.

"Budgets have become so incredibly tight that these events become more and more difficult to absorb.  And again, depending on the magnitude of the storm, if it’s as big as it says, it could be a two to three day event, and you know, getting everything cleared and back up to speed it will become very costly for folks." 

Minghine says money spent now on snow removal is money that won’t be spent on road repair and other projects this Spring.