Bitter cold grips region


& the Associated Press

IRON MOUNTAIN – Bitter cold temperatures are forecasted to continue for the local area, with a wind chill warning in effect until 10 a.m. Tuesday.

No record temperatures were reported today, but there is another chance to break the record low temperature on Tuesday.

Kari Fleegel, meteorologist with the National Weather Service (NWS) in Marquette, said that the record low temperature at the Iron Mountain-Kingsford Wastewater Treatment Plant in Breitung Township for both Jan. 6 and Jan. 7 is 29 degrees below zero.

The lowest temperature reported this morning was 18 degrees below zero.

Fleegel said that there is a better chance to break the record Tuesday, with overnight lows around 21 degrees below zero predicted.

Winds combined with the low temperatures are creating dangerous wind chill values between 30 and 40 degrees below zero.

Fleegel said that temperatures in that range can cause frostbite in under 10 minutes.

Due to the weather, all schools in the local area were closed today.

Winter weather also continued elsewhere in Michigan.

According to the National Weather Service, 16.2 inches of snow fell in Flint, 15.5 inches fell north of Jackson, 15.4 inches fell at Howell and 15 inches was reported north of Battle Creek. In the Detroit suburb of Romulus, 10.2 inches was reported at Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

Snow wrapped up after starting Saturday or Sunday. Roads are slippery as crews worked to clear the snow, and numerous spinout and slide-off crashes were reported. Weather was a factor in at least two roadway deaths over the weekend, including a driver in Huron County and a pedestrian in Barry County, authorities said.

In the southern Lower Peninsula, temperatures were expected to drop as low as minus 15 late Monday or early Tuesday. Temperatures Monday morning were in the teens in Detroit. A reading of 22 degrees below zero was reported in the Upper Peninsula community of Ironwood.

“We do have wind chill warnings in effect through Wednesday,” Matt Mosteiko, a meteorologist with the weather service’s White Lake Township office outside Detroit, said of the ongoing freeze.

Gov. Rick Snyder partially activated the state’s Emergency Operations Center, meaning that key emergency management personnel from essential state agencies will report to the center. They’re available to respond to local requests for assistance.

In a phone interview on Sunday, Snyder said he had the same goal as most Michigan residents: staying warm. The state is taking aggressive action by putting every available Department of Transportation road crew out to plow and salt and increasing state police patrols, Snyder said.

“Let’s all pull together by taking care of ourselves and each other, which includes checking in on friends and neighbors who may need our help,” Snyder said. “It’s times like this when Michiganders are at their best.”

Many state offices are closed Monday, including those in Lansing.

The storm also shuttered many courts, including bankruptcy court in Detroit. That delayed closing arguments in a hearing on an agreement by Detroit to pay off banks and settle millions of dollars in debt tied to an interest rate swaps deal.

In the Detroit suburb of Lake Orion, police say heavy snow is believed to have caused the roof to collapse at a two-story building that once housed a bar. No injuries are reported. About a foot of snow had fallen on the area by the time the roof collapsed.

Many city, county and state offices in Michigan. There were some exceptions Monday, with Detroit reporting its offices would be open.

Hundreds of schools across the state canceled Monday’s classes, including Detroit Public Schools. The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor bucked the trend and posted on its website that it was staying open Monday. The school’s Flint and Dearborn campuses were closed.

In Wisconsin, La Crosse Salvation Army and First Baptist Church expanded accommodations to shelter those in need.

The La Crosse Voluntary Organization Active in Disaster worked to provide cots, blankets, food and shelter from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. Monday and Tuesday.