DETROIT (AP) - Thunderstorms have dumped more than 4 inches of rain on parts of southern Michigan, causing widespread flooding of streets, expressways and basements. The National Weather Service says 4.15 inches of rain fell in a 12-hour period Wednesday in Detroit, while 3.12 inches fell in Ann Arbor and 3.1 inches in Wayne County's Canton Township. Flood warnings were in effect across several southeastern counties Wednesday night.
You can view photos and video of the storms at these links below:
UPDATE 9:51 pm: Officials in Joplin, Missouri now report at least 122 people have been confirmed dead as a result of the tornado.
In Joplin, Missouri, at least 117 people were killed by an F4 tornado and more than 1,000 are unaccounted for, according to the New York Times.
It's the worst tornado to hit the United States in 64 years (181 people were killed by a tornado in Woodward, Oklahoma in 1947), and it surpasses the death toll of Michigan's worst tornado which struck in 1953.
The 1953 Flint-Beecher Tornado killed 116 people in a community just north of Flint. The F5 tornado is listed as the country's 10th deadliest tornado by NOAA's Storm Prediction Center.
The tornado had winds in excess of 200 miles per hour, was 800 yards wide, and traveled on a path for 27 miles. From NOAA:
So great a number were killed by the monstrous tornado that the National Guard Armory building, along with other shelters, was turned into a temporary morgue. The scene of bodies pouring into the Armory (as an intermittent light rain poured outside) was incredibly bleak and horrifying, especially for the families and friends of the victims. At least 100 people waited outside into the rainy night before they could move inside to try and identify the bodies.
FLINT, Mich. (AP) - Heavy rains in parts of Michigan's Lower Peninsula have caused flooding while dry weather in the Upper Peninsula has brought an increased risk of wildfires.
Flooding was reported Sunday on freeways in the Flint area. WEYI-TV reports a pump that handles water on Interstate 475 under I-69 stopped working following a power outage. Workers put up barricades and signs warning drivers to stay off the road.
WJRT-TV reports heavy rainfall soaked a golf course, roads and yards other parts of Genesee County.
More rain fell Monday. The National Weather Service says flood warnings or advisories were in effect for parts of the Lower Peninsula.
In parts of the Upper Peninsula, the weather service says there was an elevated risk of wind-fed wildfires from Monday and into the weekend.
The National Weather Service has issued a "Tornado Watch" for much of Michigan until 10 p.m. tonight. A "tornado watch" means conditions are favorable for the development of tornadoes in and close to the watch area. The Michigan Counties included in the watch are: ALLEGAN ARENAC BARRY BAY BERRIEN BRANCH CALHOUN CASS CLARE CLINTON EATON GENESEE GLADWIN GRATIOT HILLSDALE HURON INGHAM IONIA IOSCO ISABELLA JACKSON KALAMAZOO KENT LAPEER LENAWEE LIVINGSTON MACOMB MIDLAND MONROE MONTCALM OAKLAND OGEMAW ROSCOMMON SAGINAW SANILAC SHIAWASSEE ST. CLAIR ST.
It started last night and is expected to continue through tonight.
Winter storm warnings will remain in effect until 8 p.m. tonight for many communities north of I-94.
Areas east of Kalamazoo along the I-94 corridor to Detroit are under the less menacing "winter weather advisories" until 2 p.m. today.
From the National Weather Service:
Moderate to heavy snow is expected around Midland, Bay City and Bad Axe. Freezing Rain, Sleet and Snow is expected from a Howell to Pontiac to Mount Clemes line north to a Saginaw to Sandusky line - including the cities of Flint, Lapeer, and Port Huron. Light Freezing Rain is expected across the Detroit Metropolitan region.
You can follow the National Weather Service's updated forecasts using the following links:
Much of Michigan is under a winter storm warning as cold air and moisture head our way. The storm, which will bring snow, sleet, ice, and rain, is expected to start tonight around 7 or 8pm. The National Weather Service (NWS) says the winter storm warnings and watches are in effect until Wednesday night:
Significant icing of power lines and tree limbs is possible tonight and Wednesday. Roads will likely become ice covered...making travel dangerous by the Wednesday morning commute.
City leaders react to Governor Snyder's revenue sharing plan
Governor Rick Snyder unveiled his ideas for sharing state revenue with local governments yesterday. As Michigan Public Radio's Rick Pluta reported, Snyder's plan would "withhold some state aid to local governments unless they make plans to consolidate services and make their finances more open."
Snyder also called for labor negotiation and pension reforms at the local level.
Robert Cannon, supervisor of Clinton Township, said his community has made some of the changes Snyder recommends. But he doesn't like linking revenue sharing to the outcome of bargaining with employee unions...
Royal Oak City Manager Don Johnson said his city has accomplished some of what Gov. Rick Snyder wants to see in trimming the cost of government...
"Some of our groups have been very cooperative, others not so much, but more and more they're coming to terms with economic realities," Johnson said.
Although he agrees with most of Snyder's plan, he said it may be difficult for some to achieve the results the governor wants.
Detroit Mayor Dave Bing said the reduction would be "a serious impediment to our progress," noting that the city has whittled down an accumulated deficit of $330 million to $150 million.
"I recognize the need for shared sacrifice. However the state must step up to provide local governments like Detroit the tools we need to make the fundamental changes necessary," Bing said in a statement.
Automakers feeling ripple effect from Japan disaster
A new report from IHS Global Insight says every major automaker will be affected by the disaster in Japan in the coming month.
"It is not a matter of if, but when," said Michael Robinet, IHS's Director of Automotive Forecast, in an analysis of the impact of the disaster that halted domestic vehicle production and affected the parts supply chain.
The ripple effect is already being felt at plants around the world but Robinet expects the impact to grow in the coming weeks and months because many automakers rely on Japanese-sourced components such as semi-conductors, integrated circuits, sensors and LCD displays.
Many of those parts were in short supply before the disaster.
Author Paul Gross is a longtime meteorologist who now works for WDIV-TV in Detroit. His book looks at the strange and constantly changing weather we have in this state, or, as he puts it, everything from heat waves to bitter snows, ice storms to tornadoes to floods.
We don’t, however, have hurricanes, and his book will tell you why. (Not having any tropical ocean waters around here is a big part of it.) Ice we do have -- in abundance.
Ice and snow. But if you are feeling so tired of snow you can’t stand it, consider this. We lucked out today. Grand Rapids once got almost seven inches of snow on March 11. In Flint, it’s been as cold as seven below zero this day, which I found in Paul Gross’s book.
He includes all these tables for fun in Extreme Michigan Weather. So, just in case you were burning to know, it was once twenty below zero on this date in Ironwood.
A winter storm has brought a few inches of snow and dangerous early-morning driving conditions to parts of the state. The Associated Press reports:
The National Weather Service says southeast Michigan was feeling the effects of the storm Friday morning, with an inch or more on the ground as the morning commute began. The snow left slippery driving conditions in its wake and numerous weather-related spinouts and crashes were reported.
The state's Thumb area and Port Huron were expected to get the most snow. The weather service says 5 to 7 inches could fall in that area. Winds contributed to hazardous conditions.
As much as 4 inches of snow fell overnight as a fast-moving system heads from the Ohio Valley into Canada, with Metro Detroit on the outer edge of the system.
The snow is expected to taper off this morning, but not before some parts of the region see a total of as much as 7 inches snow, said meteorologist Steve Considine of the National Weather Service reporting station in White Lake Township.
"It is winding down now," he said about 6:15 a.m. today. "About 2-4 inches will fall in much of Metro Detroit and higher in Macomb County."
St. Clair and Sanilac counties could see a total of 5-7 inches, Considine said, because of how the storm is moving.
Blowing snow could be a problem this morning because winds are blowing at 25-30 mph, Considine said.
Temperatures were in the 20s this morning but expected to climb near 40 degrees this afternoon, Considine said. A snowy rain is expected later this evening.
Freezing rain has closed portions of some southeast Michigan freeways and made driving conditions dangerous for commuters.
The Associated Press reports:
...portions of Interstate 94, Interstate 75 and the Lodge Freeway (M-10) were closed early Friday morning in Detroit, while portions of the Southfield Freeway (M-39) in Dearborn and Interstate 96 in Howell also have been shut down... Several accidents have been reported.
The National Weather Service in White Lake Township says freezing rain is expected to change to rain by noon. High temperatures in the low 40s are expected.
The Michigan State Police has confirmed to Michigan Radio that as of 6:57 a.m. parts of Northbound 23 were closed as were parts of Northbound I-475.
For the past decade, researchers have been studying what Americans believe about climate change.
For several years, more and more of the public has agreed that climate change is taking place. But recently, the number of people who believe climate change is happening is falling.
I talked with Barry Rabe, a professor in the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan.
He’s the author of a new report that draws on the latest public opinion surveys.
Here's what he had to say about the report, which found fewer people believe the Earth is warming:
"We found in the United States as well as in Michigan that there appears to be an upward trajectory of this in the past decade. Do you think global temperatures are warming, independent of the question of human causation, and other questions about perceptions of global warming consistently increasing, probably peaking in late 2008.
Since that time in the United States, we’ve seen a drop of about 18-20 percentage points on some of the very basic, standard survey questions that have been used for some time in the U.S. and really around the world.
In our latest survey which comes from November 2010, we actually see a little bit of bouncing back up again, not back to those November 2008 levels but for our purposes what this suggests is public understanding and perception of climate change is really a pretty volatile area of public opinion.
The numbers move around quite a bit from year to year, much more than we would have ever anticipated."
He thinks one main reason why belief in global warming has dropped over the past couple years is because a lot of people are affected by the weather in their own backyards.
Flint Mayor Dayne Walling spent much of last night address talking about what’s working in his city. But he also talked about what he thinks would help the city deal with a growing budget deficit, ‘shrinking the size of city hall.’ Walling wants to drop funding for some city commissions and eliminate some executive positions.
"My proposed changes would save the city of Flint $6 million over 4 years. Over $15 million dollars over 10 years. Its not the whole solution. But its an important part of it. Its an important part that makes a difference."
The city of Flint wants to cover its $17 million budget deficit by raising funds on the bond market.
It has to get permission from the State Administration Board to do that. So far, the Board has tabled its decision.
If the city can't raise bond money, it might be facing bankruptcy or a state takeover.
We haven’t been able to get much of a break from what’s shaping up to be a very tough January and February in Michigan, weatherwise.
"It has been a horrible winter -- lately," says George Wetzel of the National Weather Service in Grand Rapids. "I'll use Lansing as an example. The snowfall thus far this month has been 24.9 inches. That's only 18 inches less than the entire year."
And it’s not over. Wetzel says more snow is expected Thursday night– a wet, heavy snow that will be difficult to shovel.
The National Weather Service (NWS) says a "quick hitting" storm is on the way for southeast Michigan:
A quick hitting...rapidly deepening low pressure system will track Northeast through the Ohio valley tonight...towards Pittsburgh by Friday morning. This is historically a favorable track for heavy snow in Detroit. Snow is expected to overspread parts of southeast Michigan around midnight and become heavy at times south of the M-59 corridor by the Friday morning rush hour. Snow will taper off during the late morning hours and end around noon on Friday. Northerly winds will also increase late tonight into Friday morning with gusts to 30 mph.
The NWS says "the Interstate 94 corridor is forecasted to see the most snow from this system."
Here's the "hazardous weather outlook" for west Michigan around the Grand Rapids area:
Snow will return tonight especially for southern-lower Michigan. Some of the snow could be heavy with impacts to travel likely. Snow will end Friday morning. Roads could be snow covered and slick for the morning commute.
Snow is possible on Saturday...but accumulations are not expected to be heavy. Freezing rain will be possible Sunday night. A risk for accumulating snow exists on Monday.
For mariners...gales are possible on Monday on Lake Michigan.
Consumers Energy spokesman Tim Pietryga said in a statement Tuesday that most of the Jackson-based utility's customers without power are in Kalamazoo, Lenawee, Monroe, Hillsdale, Calhoun and Branch counties. More than 160,000 customers have been affected.
Pietryga said workers, including 100 utility crews from Indiana and Ohio, should return power to most blacked-out customers by late Thursday evening.
But power may not return to the hardest-hit counties until Friday. DTE Energy Co. reported no major outages.
Six to 10 inches of snow, along with sleet and ice, fell on Lower Michigan between Sunday and Monday.
A cold front passed through the state overnight. Most parts of Michigan has already recorded their high temperatures for the day. Temps are expected to fall through the day and into the evening, as Michigan's brief flirtation with Spring comes to an end.
There's snow in the forecast for Sunday when temperatures are expected to descend back into the teens.
Though the sun might come out for a bit today, it is going to be a cold one around the state. Temperatures will be in the teens. However, with the wind chill, it'll feel as cold as 11 below in some parts of the region. Meanwhile, a wind chill advisory is in effect for parts of Southeast Michigan until 11 a.m. this morning.
Tonight: Cloudy skies with a chance of flurries. Lows ranging from negative 3 degrees to 10 above... with wind chills down to 10 below.
Tomorrow: A mix of sun and clouds with a chance of snow. Highs in the low to mid 20's.
It's winter... It's cold... And it's getting colder.
The National Weather Service says cold air is sweeping down onto the lower 48:
A frigid arctic air mass will continue to surge southward east of the Rockies today and Wednesday as a strong frontal system pushes southward through Texas and northern Mexico. As a result, high temperatures across the southern plains will be almost 40 degrees below normal on Wednesday and up to 30 degrees below normal on Thursday.
It looks like the frigid temperatures will be here until Friday when we'll see temperatures in the 20s again.
Tonight: Scattered flurries before 7pm. Partly cloudy, with a low around 2. Wind chill values as low as -14. West wind between 13 and 15 mph, with gusts as high as 18 mph. Wednesday: A chance of flurries after 2pm. Mostly sunny, with a high near 14. Wind chill values as low as -15. West wind between 15 and 18 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph. Wednesday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 0. Wind chill values as low as -11. West wind between 8 and 13 mph, with gusts as high as 18 mph. Thursday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 14. Wind chill values as low as -13. West southwest wind between 9 and 14 mph, with gusts as high as 18 mph. Thursday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 2. West southwest wind between 9 and 15 mph.
Tonight: A 40 percent chance of snow showers. Partly cloudy, with a low around 7. Wind chill values as low as -8. West wind between 13 and 18 mph, with gusts as high as 26 mph. Wednesday: A 50 percent chance of snow showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 16. Wind chill values as low as -8. Breezy, with a west wind between 14 and 20 mph, with gusts as high as 29 mph. Wednesday Night: A 50 percent chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 6. Wind chill values as low as -8. West northwest wind between 7 and 16 mph, with gusts as high as 24 mph. Thursday: A 40 percent chance of snow showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 16. Wind chill values as low as -9. West southwest wind between 10 and 16 mph, with gusts as high as 24 mph. Thursday Night: A 40 percent chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 9. Southwest wind between 10 and 15 mph, with gusts as high as 23 mph.
The Michigan Department of Transportation spent $1,392 a ton to dump 170 tons of calcium magnesium acetate on the 8,000-foot-long bridge on Interstate 75 over the Saginaw River last winter.
Gregg Brunner, manager of the Bay City Transportation Service Center, told the News that MDOT "spends about $800,000 to $1 million a year to maintain the six-lane bridge year round with a four-member crew."
Around 31,000 cars and trucks pass over the bridge daily.
The mile-and-a-half Zilwaukee Bride had an infamous beginning. It was built so freighters could pass under it on the Saginaw River.
The project was plagued with accidents, "spalling", and the discovery of PCBs. It cost the state $117.5 million to build the bridge and it was opened back in 1988.
The National Weather Service is releasing data on just how much snow fell during the massive winter storm that sweep across the state this week. South Haven, on the coast of Lake Michigan, saw 20 inches of snow on the ground. That's the largest snowfall so far reported, according to the Associated Press. Muskegon got 19.7 inches. A foot of snow fell in the Lansing area. Flint got 10 inches, Detroit got 8.7 inches.
Thursday's cancellations include previously scheduled full sessions of the Senate and House, at least three Senate committee hearings and at least five House committee hearings. Lawmakers will resume their regularly scheduled sessions and committee hearings Tuesday.
Lawmakers usually don't hold session on Mondays and Fridays.
Most of Lower Michigan is digging out of last night’s winter storm, and it’s not over yet. A blizzard warning remains in effect until 7 P.M. for the western side of the state, as well as areas as far east as Lansing. In areas around Flint, a blizzard warning is scheduled to expire at noon. In the Detroit and Ann Arbor areas, a winter storm warning will last until noon. The counties along the state’s southern border are under a winter weather advisory until 1 P.M., with the exception of Berrien County, whose winter weather advisory is set to expire at 10 A.M. As for the Toledo area, a winter storm warning will remain in effect until 7 o’clock this evening.
Earlier this morning, the southwestern part of the state reported having 10 to 15 inches of snow already on the ground. Cities in the southeast, including Ann Arbor and Flint, received between four and six inches.
The storm has made roads hazardous, with snow drifts of up to five feet being reported. AAA Michigan reportedly helped more than 3,600 drivers stuck on the roads Tuesday night. Those who can avoid driving are urged to do so.
Today, numerous school districts, as well as many colleges and universities, are closed. School districts closed for Wednesday include Detroit, Kalamazoo, Ann Arbor, Lansing, Grand Rapids, Toledo, and Jackson. In addition, Michigan State University, Wayne State University, the University of Michigan-Dearborn, Western Michigan University, and Grand Valley State University have canceled classes for today.
Hundreds of flights in and out of Michigan airports have been canceled due to the winter weather, according to the Associated Press.
The AP reports:
Detroit Metropolitan Airport spokesman Mike Conway says... many cancelations were made by airlines in advance of the storm. Conway says runways at the airport in Romulus and nearby Willow Run Airport have been kept open despite the snow, thanks to constant work from plow crews.
The Grand Rapids Press reports most early Wednesday departures were canceled at Gerald R. Ford International Airport in southwestern Michigan. And The Flint Journal reports that some flights at Flint's Bishop International Airport had been canceled.
Out of 600 departures and 622 arrivals scheduled for today at Metro Airport, 254 departures and 263 arrivals have been canceled, airport spokesman Scott Wintner said.
As of 6:30 a.m., Southwest stopped all operations at the airport through noon and United has canceled all flights in and out of Detroit for today, not including United Express flights to Newark and Houston, he said.
Delta Air Lines canceled 800 flight systemwide today. Customers traveling through areas impacted by the storm can change flights without fees, Delta’s Web site says.
Very strong northeast winds will develop overnight and continue through Wednesday morning. Strong winds in excess of 35 mph will combine with the heavy snow to create blizzard conditions across all of southeastern Michigan. Significant blowing and drifting of snow will occur...helping to create whiteout conditions. Snowfall and wind gusts will decrease in intensity Wednesday afternoon...with snow diminishing by the early evening. Storm total snow accumulations of between 7 and 12 inches will be possible across much of southeastern Michigan...with 10 to 15 inches possible between the I 69 and m 46 corridors.
As of 400 pm heavy snow was crossing the Michigan and Indiana border. Steady snow will continue to develop across the warning area late this afternoon. The heaviest snow will fall between midnight and mid morning on Wednesday. One to two inch per hour snow rates can be expected during this time. Storm total accumulations of 10 to 16 inches can be expected by Wednesday evening. By around 8 pm north to northeast winds will increase to 15 to 30 mph with higher gusts to 40 mph. These winds will continue into Wednesday morning before gradually diminishing. Considerable blowing and drifting snow is expected... Producing blizzard conditions and visibilities down to near zero.
Update - 12:00 p.m.:
The latest from the National Weather Service. Much of southern Michigan is under a blizzard warning (red in the map above) and the middle and upper part of the lower peninsula are under a winter storm watch (pink).
Poor folks in the UP. They're going to miss all the fun.
The National Weather Service says the Blizzard Warning will be in effect from 7pm tonight until 7am tomorrow for southeastern Michigan, and for West Michigan the warning will start around 5 p.m.
From the NWS:
This is a dangerous storm. Travel and commerce across the warning area are expected to be severely impacted by heavy snow and significant blowing and drifting snow late this afternoon through Wednesday.
Heavy snow and blowing and drifting snow will make clearing of roads difficult tonight into Wednesday. Conditions will improve late Wednesday afternoon into Wednesday evening as the snow diminishes and winds die down.
Monday, January 31st - 1:02 p.m.:
The winter storm is approaching. Here are some weather links to keep you up to date:
A major winter storm is expected to impact the central United States over the next several days. Snow possible from the Northern and Central Plains into the Upper Midwest. Ice and snow possible across the Central and Southern Plains, central Mississippi Valley and Ohio Valley beginning early Tuesday. Blizzard Warnings are in effect over parts of Illinois and Indiana. Winter Storm Warnings, Winter Storm Watches, and Winter Weather Advisories are in effect from most of the central United States through the Midwest and into the Northeast.
Homeless shelters from Grand Rapids to Detroit are gearing up for a busy couple of days this week.
The major winter storm that's headed our way is expected to dump around a foot of snow across the state, and temperatures will be around 20 degrees for the next several days.
The city of Lansing is coordinating with its homeless shelters to make sure no one is turned away. Joan Jackson Johnson directs the city’s Community Services department:
"What we’re doing is providing any extra resources the shelters may need - from food to blankets. We’ve authorized one shelter to go out and purchase some emergency air mattresses for their shelter because this is their first time expanding for the overflow population."
Johnson says they’re prepared to house people in a hotel if they run out of room at the shelters.
The announced closings continue. Now state government is getting in on the action.
From the Associated Press:
The expectation of a winter storm will close down the Michigan Legislature. The state Senate and House have canceled sessions and committee meetings previously scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday because of a snowstorm that's expected to dump more than a foot of snow in some parts of Michigan. Wind gusts of 20 to 30 mph also are expected Wednesday in some areas with temperatures around 20 degrees. Both chambers were open for business Tuesday. Legislative offices will be closed Wednesday but might be open Thursday depending on the weather.