BERKLEY, Mich. (AP) — Michigan residents have been stocking up in preparation for the harshest winter conditions in 20 years, with a foot of snow already on the ground by Sunday evening, more on the way and temperatures expected to dive as low as minus 15.
The Detroit Public Schools, Oakland University and hundreds of other schools from the southeastern Lower Peninsula to the western Upper Peninsula canceled Monday's classes.
At least one death is being blamed on the snow. Branden Hewitt, 27, of Owendale hit a snowdrift and struck another vehicle Saturday in Huron County's Brookfield Township, the Huron Daily Tribune said. In nearby Bad Axe, 9 inches of snow had fallen by 6:20 p.m. Sunday, the National Weather Service said.
In a phone interview, Gov. Rick Snyder said he had the same goal as most Michigan residents: staying warm. The state is taking aggressive action by putting every available Department of Transportation road crew out to plow and salt and increasing state police patrols, Snyder said.
He said the state is ready to help county and local governments and schools — those agencies with direct responsibility for weather-related safety. The public should step up as well, he said.
"Let's all pull together by taking care of ourselves and each other, which includes checking in on friends and neighbors who may need our help," Snyder said. "It's times like this when Michiganders are at their best."
He added that it's important to dress properly for the bitter cold and stay indoors if at all possible.
"It's clearly better if you're not out on the roads," the governor said.
Residents have been preparing for the snowstorm and deep freeze for days, filling their gas tanks and jamming stores to stock up on supplies.
"I made my husband go grocery shopping last night," said Kim Tarnopol, 46, of the Detroit suburb of Huntington Woods. Tarnopol was out at midday Sunday picking up a few other weather-related items at a CVS drug store in nearby Berkley, including cold medicine for daughter Emma.
The 13-year-old and her 15-year-old brother already missed two days of school last week for weather. The Berkley School District closed Thursday because of an earlier snowstorm and Friday because of sub-zero temperatures. That doesn't mean her children weren't looking forward to another snow day or two, she said.
"They're hoping," Tarnopol said. And they got their wish, when the district announced later Sunday that it would not hold classes Monday.
Gene Commire, a 79-year-old retired juvenile detention officer, said he was taking the dire weather forecast in stride. All the Berkley man needed Sunday at CVS was prescription medication.
"All I did was buy gas for the snow blower and the car," Commire said. "We've had (severe winter weather) for as long as I can remember. This is nothing new."
He said his plans are clear if conditions are harsh: play "couch potato."
"If it's really cold, I won't go roller skating," said Commire, who normally hits the rink a couple times a week.