Winter blasts into town
Gear up for more seasonal weather predicted to hit the area in next few days
|Lapeer County road crew plows down Old M-21 at intersection of Fairgrounds Road in Imlay City during Friday’s driving snowstorm. As much as a foot of snowfall was reported in the area, which blew and drifted over the weekend. photo by Maria Brown.|
December 24, 2008TRI-CITY AREA — Sure, the weather's been wintry lately but obviously Old Man Winter wanted to show off a little with his official arrival on Sunday.
Not to be upstaged by Friday's fall farewell—a stellar showing of steady, falling snow—winter blew in with a frigid blast of strong winds, whiteout conditions in some areas, snow squalls and bone-chilling blasts of the coldest temperatures reported so far this season.
About a foot of snowfall on Friday was capped off by Sunday's steady and gusty winds, with temperatures in the single digits and wind chills reported between 5 and 25 below as winter officially arrived.
Despite all of that, area police departments were relatively quiet, with just six minor accidents reported in Almont from December 19 through the morning of the 22nd.
"I think the weather was so bad that everyone just hunkered down inside, which was a great idea," Sgt. Robert Parsell says. "Those who were going out were going real slow. They pretty much had no choice."
That was good news—and bad news—for Parsell, whose been on the job for some 31 Michigan winters. The good news is no one got hurt.
"I hate to see anyone get injured during the holidays," he says.
The bad news is he was among the few who had to negotiate the roads on Friday to get to work.
"As the officer who lives closest to the department I've got no excuse not to get here," he laughs.
In Imlay City things were quiet as well. Police Chief John Stano says the DPW was out all weekend clearing the roads, which helped keep things safer for motorists.
"It was pleasantly surprising that we had no greater number of accidents than normal because of the weather," Stano says. "I think people were being cautious and that's a good thing."
Being cautious in Stano's book means one main thing: Slow down.
"Excessive speed is the main culprit that causes drivers to lose control during wintry conditions," he says. "Driving at a reduced speed can help reduce accidents and keep your vehicle on the road."
Like Parsell, Stano says it's a good idea to stay home if possible when winter conditions become too intense.
"If the weather is too bad, stay home as to not endanger yourself and others," he says. "If you do choose to venture out, leave extra time and don't be in a hurry. Be patient and stay safe."
Patient or not, Friday's storm and the weekend's driving snow posed problems for many drivers.
The weekend dispatch at Paul's Towing and Collision in Almont logged four pages of calls for help.
"That's a pretty good amount," says Rachel Merlone, management assistant.
On Monday, the towing service was still hustling and bustling in response to requests for assistance.
"We're busy with the drifted roads and blowing and driving conditions causing a lot of problems," Merlone says.
More may be in store, too, according to the National Weather Service.
Two to four inches of additional snow accumulation is predicted for Tuesday night, with high temperatures expected to be in the mid-20s. Steady south winds are expected to reach speeds of 15-25 mph.
On Christmas Eve, meteorologists say snow with a chance of light freezing rain and sleet will greet residents in the morning, with additional snow of about an inch expected. High temperatures will range from 32 to 36. Night time lows will dip into the high teens.
According to the NWS, it will be a white—but sunny Christmas. Temperatures are expected to peak at around 28 degrees.