A hardy storm that dumped snow, sleet and ice on Michigan knocked out power for tens of thousands of homes and businesses and made driving treacherous for Monday commuters.
The National Weather service in White Lake Township said that by Monday morning, up to 10 inches of snow had fallen on southern Michigan since the storm blew into the upper Midwest on Sunday. Officials were urging drivers to stay off the roads if possible, rather than risk the icy roads and wind-driven snow.
Hundreds of flights were canceled at Detroit Metropolitan Airport.
AAA Michigan spokeswoman Nancy Cain said the organization took more than 4,000 requests for assistance in spinouts and minor accidents Sunday and Monday morning. She said that was much busier than normal but not a record, which she attributes to lower traffic volumes because of the observance of the Presidents Day holiday and winter break at many schools.
"It's a heavier snow and it seems like there's more of it," she said. "There are more cars stuck in ditches, more cars stuck on the freeway -- they can't get up ramps or overpasses."
About 109,000 utility customers were without power Monday and more than 117,000 had been affected by weather-related outages. Consumers Energy spokesman Tim Pietryga said in a statement that most of the Jackson-based utility's customers without power are in Kalamazoo, Lenawee, Monroe, Hillsdale, Calhoun and Branch counties. DTE Energy Co. said no major outages have been reported.
Paul Szymanski found largely untreated roads Monday morning on his drive from his home in Redford Township to Detroit, where he is a school principal. His students were enjoying a snow-filled mid-winter break, but he was battling the roads to get to a morning meeting at school.
"I was prepared to deal with a lot of snow," he said, during a breakfast stop at a Dearborn bagel shop. Still, he was amused by how the forecast started at one or two inches on Sunday and kept getting revised upward.
A few miles away, Angela Williams was vigorously scraping the ice and snow off her Jeep Liberty, but not because she was late for work. She was trying to get it off her Dearborn street so plows could come through and clear the snow.
Williams was grateful to be home Sunday night, a timely break from her midnight shift job as a supervisor at a Southfield factory that makes springs for race cars. She said she was scheduled to work Monday evening and hoped the roads would be in better shape by then.
As she scraped, she was trying to take the late February storm in stride.
"Well, you know what? We haven't had a really bad winter except for the last two storms," she said. "Compared to other states, this is mild."