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Several Deaths Blamed On Snow Shoveling, Winter Weather

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DETROIT (WWJ) – Several deaths reported by local officials on Monday were believed to be weather-related.

In Oakland County, a 67-year-old Orion Township man died after he’d been shoveling snow; and a 56-year-old Pontiac woman died while shoveling her driveway.

In Detroit, a 36-year-old Detroit man reported having chest pains while shoveling the snow. He died a short time later at a nearby hospital.

Dr. Barry Franklin, director of Beaumont’s Cardiac Rehab program, says the heavy snow, extreme cold and physical exertion of shoveling are a recipe for disaster-even if you’ve never had heart problems.

“We’ve measured the weight of heavy, wet snow; and it weights about 16 pounds,” Franklin said. “If you say to me, ‘Well, Barry, 16 pounds isn’t all that much … If they move 16 pounds, 12 shovels a minute time 10 minutes — they’re moving the equivalents of 2,000 pounds. That’s a full-size car.”

Franklin said you should only shovel if you’re already getting regular, vigorous exercise. Even then, he said, be sure to dress warmly, take it slow and take regular breaks.

“The man or woman that’s been sitting at their computer all year round doesn’t exercise regularly and decides I’ve got to go out and shovel my driveway and clear this off; it’s those people who are really, truly at greatest risk,” Franklin said.

Meantime, police blame weather conditions for at least two traffic deaths in Michigan as the heavy snow and bitter cold have made travel treacherous.

State police said a 16-year-old driver hit 50-year-old pedestrian Timothy Nixon of Hastings around 11 p.m. Saturday in Barry County’s Baltimore Township, about 30 miles southeast of Grand Rapids.

Police said road conditions were slippery, visibility was poor and Nixon wore dark clothing.

The Huron Daily Tribune reported 27-year-old Branden Hewitt of Owendale was killed when he hit a snowdrift and struck another vehicle Saturday in Huron County’s Brookfield Township.

Crashes have closed major roads, and police have responded to large numbers of crashes around the state.

Know before you go: Keep it tuned to WWJ Newsradio 950 for the latest forecast during traffic and weather, every 10 minutes on the 8s. 

TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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