TRAVERSE CITY — Rain and warm temperatures created slick roads that were expected to again turn icy, a slippery, dangerous see-saw on area secondary and gravel roads.
Rain washed away snow and exposed underlying ice Sunday night and Monday. Falling temperatures Monday night were expected to leave some main roads slick in spots today and refreeze the ice and slush on subdivision, secondary and gravel roads.
"This has been a weird, funny winter, but anytime we have these wide swings in temperatures, the roads may appear fine, but they can change up pretty quick," said Nancy Roseman, engineer/manager of the Benzie County Road Commission. "Drivers need to be cautious. It's winter. Pretty much always drive cautious."
Sunday night's weather featured a short-lived freezing drizzle, and because the ground is still frozen, roads with hard-packed snow or ice turned into a solid block, said Mary Gillis, manager of the Grand Traverse County Road Commission.
Hard-packed snow bonds to road surfaces and resists removal by plow blades, road officials said. Salt needed to break the bond won't work in extremely cold conditions such as those witnessed throughout northern Michigan last week.
Up to 0.8 inches of rain fell by noon on Monday, and turned much of the snow atop roads to slush that was expected to re-freeze.
"It leaves that slick, hard ice, especially on side roads and gravel," Roseman said. "Add moisture on top of that and it makes it pretty slippery."
Grand Traverse County sheriff's officials said 10 accidents occurred between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. Monday. No serious injuries were reported.
Monday's warmer daytime temperatures allowed road crews to scrape most major roads and some side roads. On gravel roads, a heavy sand mixture was dumped to create grit.
"All the paved surfaces we can treat we got pretty clear on Monday," Gillis said. "On secondary roads, there will be problems again if this freezes up quick tonight."
The National Weather Service in Gaylord predicted a low Monday night of 28 degrees with a high today of 30 degrees and a chance of light snow.
"There's nothing significant the rest of the week," said Scott Dickson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gaylord. Temperatures will warm into the mid-30s by Wednesday with a chance of light snow or rain on Thursday. Temperatures are expected to drop again over the weekend with a chance of snow on Saturday.