TRAVERSE CITY — Strong winds, frigid temperatures and snowfall continued to deteriorate road conditions across the region and drove school officials to cancel classes for yet another day.
And conditions likely won't improve much for at least a few more days.
"This weekend we had roads that our big plow trucks couldn't break through," said Jim Cook, who manages the Grand Traverse County Road Commission. "Our guys worked 12- or 14-hour shifts on Saturday basically trying to deal with blowing or drifting snow. We actually brought out our big road grader with a wing plow."
The National Weather Service predicts temperatures will peak at 2 degrees today, and that deep chill won't help melt the glare ice that formed on roads across the region during the past week, Cook said. Road surfaces must reach 20 degrees for salt to be effective.
Those slick roadways sent several cars into ditches throughout the weekend and continued to trigger wrecks during the commute to start the new work week.
High temperatures aren't expected to climb above 20 degrees until Thursday, according to the latest forecasts released by the National Weather Service office in Gaylord.
Cook expects drifting to continue to be a problem throughout the day today, with sustained winds of 20 mph and gusts above 30 mph.
Road Commission crews used the large V-plow on a road grader to cut a passable path on two heavily drifted roads in Grant Township during the weekend. Snow on Elliott and Fox roads was deep enough to cover a pickup truck, Cook said.
Plow drivers have 1,200 miles of road to cover, so they'll likely again focus on state highways, arterial and some secondary roads, he said.
By Saturday morning, a snowfall total maintained by Cook's staff showed 142 inches of snow had fallen so far this winter. The tally at the Weather Service's official recording station in Traverse City shows 96.8 inches of snow by this morning. That's 3.5 inches more snow than falls during an entire winter, according to the agency's records.