Snow tapers off by Friday morning

South Haven. (Nov. 20, 2014)


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The snow is expected to stop by Friday morning.

Storm Team 8 predicted some areas in West Michigan, including Grand Rapids, would see an additional 2 to 3 inches of snow accumulation through late Thursday night. That pushed November into Grand Rapids’ snowiest ever with more than 28 inches of accumulation. A wider area saw 1 to 2 inches.

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A Winter Weather Advisory was scheduled to remain in effect until 7 a.m. Friday in Allegan, Barry, Branch, Kalamazoo, Kent, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana, Ottawa, St. Joseph and Van Buren counties. Berrien and Cass counties were under a Winter Storm Warning until 4 a.m. Friday.

wx alerts 112014

Snow will taper off by Friday morning.

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Winds were gustier Thursday, reaching up to 30 miles an hour in some areas. That caused more challenges for drivers and road crews who were facing blowing and drifting snow.

The Kent County Road Commission once again took to Twitter on Thursday warning drivers of scattered ice and slippery spots on highways, as well as snow drifts which are compromising side roads and creating low visibility in some areas. They reminded drivers to leave early and reduce speeds.

Earlier this week, heavy lake effect snow and strong winds developed Monday afternoon and didn’t relent until Tuesday evening. Most of Kent County recorded more than a foot of light, fluffy snow; parts of Ottawa, Allegan and Barry counties received a foot of snow, too.

>>Photos: Heavy snowfall from early winter storm

Storm Team 8 says the heavy snow maximum was focused on Grand Rapids because of west winds and the widest part of Lake Michigan being to the west of the metro area. The longer distance cold, dry Arctic air is able cross Lake Michigan, the greater snow-producing moisture can be absorbed.

An image of snow sweeping across Michigan on the afternoon of Nov. 18, 2014,
(An image of snow sweeping across Michigan on the afternoon of Nov. 18.)

What has contributed to all this snow is the very cold temperatures that are running nearly six degrees below average for the month. Tuesday’s high temperature of 19 degrees was the coldest high temperature we’ve ever recorded for the date. It was 27 degrees below average.

Thursday, the City of Grand Rapids had plowed 75% of streets and hoped to have all roads cleared when the snow stopped. Officials say extra plows were sent to the city’s northeast side, where mid-morning snow band dumped 2.5 inches of snow onto streets.

Crews will be working around the clock to clear roads and storm drain grates before the heavy rain forecast for this weekend. If residents have any issues with their street in the City of Grand Rapids, they can call 311 for assistance.

The Heart of West Michigan United Way 211 says it has seen a significant increase in phone calls from Kent County residents needing utility assistance, furnace repair, housing and shelter and shoveling assistance. Currently, there is no organized program that provides shoveling assistance. The United Way is encouraging the community to assist their neighbors who are not able to shovel and to check on elderly and physically-challenged neighbors.

Warmer temperatures will arrive this weekend, but unfortunately they will be accompanied with rain and it could be heavy at times, especially late in the weekend.

“There’s gonna be issues like on the rural, gravel roads because if there’s snowpack and it rains, that’s going to turn to sheet ice,” said Jerry Byrne, the director of maintenance at the Kent County Road Commission.

County road crews have been piling snow in the middle of the road rather than off to the side in the hopes of keeping drains clear to help prevent icing and flooding.

Ottawa County officials asked residents to clear the roadside catch basins near their homes of snow, leaves and other debris to help prevent flooding. It also advised clearing gutters to prevent overflowing and the formation of icicles.

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Consumers Energy Wednesday reminded residents to keep vents and pipes clear of snow and ice, and clear paths to their meters for meter readers. It offered these tips:

  • Keep gas and electric meters clear of snow and ice. When snow and ice builds up, it can become compacted and freeze, causing damage that interferes with proper operation of meters and related appliances. Snow should only be removed by hand, never with a shovel or power snow removal equipment.
  • Mobile home customers: Safely clear snow away from mobile home rooftop chimneys, preferably by using a snow rake. The furnace can then be cycled again and should operate properly.
  • High-efficiency furnace customers: Make sure the fresh air intake pipes (typically two white plastic pipes that come out of the side of the home) are free from drifting snow to prevent obstructions and improper operation.
  • Safe removal of snow and ice around chimneys, intake valves and meters can help Media toolkit

Consumers also warned people to watch for carbon monoxide poisoning.

  • If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, move to fresh air immediately and call 911 or your local fire department for immediate help. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning often mimic the flu and may include headaches, nausea, fatigue, or dizziness.
  • The best defense against carbon monoxide poisoning is to install an audible alarm that will sound if dangerous levels of CO are present. Check alarm batteries often.

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