SOUTHFIELD (WWJ) – Metro Detroit roadways are snow-covered and icy after snow fell for over 18 hours, leaving up to five inches covering the ground.
While the snowplows are out in full force salting the roads, some area roadways are especially slick and multiple accidents have been reported.
About 100 snowplows and salt trucks are out on the roads in Oakland County, according to Road Commission for Oakland County spokesman Craig Bryson.
“Well the temperatures and the blowing wind and the open areas are a problem right now and just getting out and getting everything cleaned up is just taking some time,” said Bryson.
Leo Ciavatta of the Macomb County Department of Roads said the biggest challenge Saturday is just trying to keep the roads clear.
“We’re fighting winds and we’re fighting cold temperatures right now. Everything is salted, but with the temperatures this cold, the salt isn’t as effective. The wind is really what’s hurting us the most. It’s so serious because when the wind blows like that, the pavement gets wet and then the snow just blows back over it and freezes. That’s why it’s so hard to maintain wet pavement and keep the roads clear at this point,” said Ciavatta.
Bryson has some advice if you’re out driving, whether it’s on snow-covered roads or those that look perfectly plowed.
“Plan on taking longer than you’d ordinarily take. Take your time even though we’re out working, you know, don’t assume that even the areas that are plowed and salted are gonna be completely slush-free and ice-free and use caution and let the trucks have the room they need to do their jobs,” said Bryson.
Dozens of accidents were reported in Genesee County due to the snow and ice and more than a dozen accidents were reported in St. Clair County. No serious injuries were reported.
The snowstorm overnight also caused major problems near Bay City, shutting down I-75 for hours after several accidents. Michigan State Trooper Joseph LaBelle, was on the scene Friday night when whiteout conditions occurred.
“I know we had close to 20 individual accidents involving at least 60 cars. I mean, there was one that was a six, seven car pile up and there was a school bus involved, but the school bus was empty at the time,” said LaBelle.
LaBelle said four people were taken to the hospital, but none of the injuries were life threatening.
“We’re still digging cars out of the ditches. There were cars that were just abandoned, so we’re still coming upon vehicles that have been put in last night with nobody around them,” said Labelle.
Meantime, near Grand Rapids, an AirTran plane slid off the runway at Gerald Ford Airport, causing some damage to the plane. None of the passengers were injured.
Luckily, the worst of the snow is pretty much over. The WWJ Weather Team said we might get a few evening flurries, otherwise it will be cloudy, breezy and cold.
For the latest from the roads, stay with WWJ Newsradio 950 during Traffic and Weather on the 8s, 24-hours a day. Check for recent traffic incidents now by visiting our Traffic Page.