Sponsored By:

   The Nation  |  Business  |  Equipment  |  Features


Winds, snow cause whiteout conditions, crashes in Michigan

"It's going to be a very windy day," said National Weather Service meteorologist Evan Webb in Grand Rapids.

The Associated Press

2/21/2014

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Blowing snow caused whiteout conditions Friday in western Michigan, leading to numerous crashes on the roads, while strong winds caused scattered power outages and shut down the Mackinac Bridge.

In the Grand Rapids area, multiple crashes were reported including along Interstate 96. A blizzard warning was issued for parts of the Upper Peninsula, where up to 11 inches of snow fell as of late Friday morning.

"It's going to be a very windy day," said National Weather Service meteorologist Evan Webb in Grand Rapids.

High winds at the Mackinac Bridge on Friday morning prompted officials to initially require an escort of larger vehicles such as semis and campers. Around midday, operators of the five-mile bridge connecting Michigan's Upper and Lower peninsulas reported that the bridge was closed to all traffic.

In Allegan County in the southwestern part of the state, the sheriff's department reports visibility is near-zero in places and deputies are responding to many crashes. The department encouraged people to stay off the roads in the northwestern portion of the county until winds ease.

In Muskegon County, whiteout conditions forced motorists to abandon their vehicles. In Oceana County, northbound U.S. 31 was shut down after a semi went off the roadway. In mid-Michigan, U.S. 127 near the Gratiot and Isabella county line to the Mount Pleasant area had lanes closed due to crashes.

A blizzard warning was issued for parts of the Upper Peninsula, where up to 11 inches of snow fell as of late Friday morning. Some Michigan school districts canceled classes for the day because of wintry weather conditions in both the Lower and Upper peninsulas, including many in the Flint area.

Rain and melting snow earlier in the week caused road flooding, and efforts took place to ease the impact. In Port Huron, authorities authorized icebreaking efforts to take place along the Black River to prevent flooding from hitting area homes.

Starting Friday and working over the next several days, crews in tug boats will begin at the mouth of the Black River and work inland. They'll be breaking ice to allow better water flow. People are asked to stay off the ice.

"This year's harsh winter has created ice buildup that has not been seen in years," the Port Huron Public Safety Division said in a statement.

The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at editor@thetrucker.com.

Find more news and analysis from The Trucker, and share your thoughts, on Facebook.




Celadon