Traverse City Record-Eagle

April 11, 2013

Slush, slick roads follow snowstorm

BY MATT TROUTMAN mtroutman@record-eagle.com
Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — TRAVERSE CITY — Sleet and snow had already fallen from the sky, accompanied by an occasional thunderclap, by the time Ed Galindo started shoveling slush from the sidewalk in front of the Federico’s Design Jewelers.

The salesman wasn’t phased Wednesday morning when the weather changed to ice pellets. He said nothing was surprising after this snowy winter.

“There’s nothing we can do about it except just roll with it,” he said.

The wintry mix blanketed the Grand Traverse region Wednesday, leading to several school closures and numerous slide offs on the roads, including one school bus.

Meteorologist Mike Boguth with the National Weather Service office in Gaylord said northern Michigan can expect more snow, sleet and potential freezing rain through Friday. He said some areas saw about 3 inches of snowfall overnight into Wednesday morning.

“It could reoccur (today), maybe a touch heavier,” he said.

Boguth said the precipitation came from a slow-moving weather system that also left up to a foot of snow in North Dakota and freezing rain in South Dakota and Wyoming. He called it a “classic spring storm” with snow and sleet to the north and rain, hail and potential tornadoes farther south.

“It’s nothing really unusual,” he said. “We had a decent snowfall with slick, greasy snow that is a cause for concern.”

About 15 schools announced closures in the early Wednesday morning hours, but not before a Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District bus slid into a ditch while trying to climb a hill near M-72 and Skegemog Point Road.

Kellie Dean, president and CEO of Dean Transportation, which provides bus services for TBAISD, said no children were on board during the 4:33 a.m. accident. He said driver and attendant

“A regular time driver and attendant were heading for their first pickup,” he said. “It was actually ahead of the (TBAISD) closing.”

Dean said the driver and attendant were not injured.

Not all school districts saw conditions bad enough to warrant closures.

“Our roads were fine (Wednesday),” said Keith Smith, superintendent of Kingsley Area Schools. “Our guys get up at 4 o’clock and drive the roads. It’s funny how different weather can be better one district to the next.”

Dispatchers in Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska and Leelanau Counties also reported minor accidents and roll overs.

“We’ve had cars in ditches and property damage accidents,” said Daniel Bean, sheriff of Antrim County. “As far as anything serious, no.”

Grand Traverse Central Dispatch Director Jamel Anderson said the accidents were spread across the county, with Hammond Road and Supply Road seeing a few more.

“We’ll see what (Thursday) brings,” she said.

Boguth said the wintry mix continues today and should transition to about an inch of snow accumulation by Friday. He said next week should show temperatures into the 50s.

“Nothing that we’re seeing now looks to repeat next week,” he said.