Winter storm, 60 mph winds play havoc in area

February 28, 2019

By Pat Maurer
Correspondent

What the National Weather Service of Gaylord is calling a “February Blizzard” swept across the mitten’s northern counties and the Upper Peninsula over the past weekend, hitting some areas with 60 mile per hour winds, plummeting temperatures and whiteout conditions that closed freeways including portions of I-75, US-131, US-2 and the Mackinac Bridge because plows were no match for the drifting snow and high winds.

A semi tipped over due to icy roads in the southbound lane of U.S. 127 Wednesday morning causing the freeway to be shut down just after the M-55 Lake City Road. Photo posted by 9&10 news

A semi tipped over due to icy roads in the southbound lane of U.S. 127 Wednesday morning causing the freeway to be shut down just after the M-55 Lake City Road.
Photo posted by 9&10 news

The storm began with rain and freezing rain which compounded travel difficulties in most of the area, and progressed to snow as the weekend continued.

By Sunday, 9&10 News reported that Antrim County’s Road Commission had announced that US-131 between M-32 and Alba would not be plowed.

In Chippewa County, M-129 was closed between three Mile Road and 12 Mile Road due to the blowing snow and multiple accidents.

In Gaylord, northbound I-75 was closed due to multiple accidents and slide offs.

The conditions led to numerous accidents, slide-offs, and many stranded vehicles north of Clare County.

This picture posted by the Kalkaska County Road Commission shows the difficulty of keeping major roads clear earlier this week.

This picture posted by the Kalkaska County Road Commission shows the difficulty of keeping major roads clear earlier this week.

The National Weather Service posted, “White the (weekend) storm was not notable for the amount of snowfall it brought to northern Michigan, the strength and duration of its strong winds were impressive from the standpoint of its prolonged widespread blizzard conditions.”

Some areas were still digging out on Wednesday.

Although Clare County suffered from some of the high winds and some snow, the heavier snowfall that blasted areas to the north didn’t hit as hard in the central Michigan area, although the freezing rain and blowing, drifting snow did close the schools in the area once again on Monday.

As of Monday, both Clare and Farwell Schools had been closed for 19 days due to adverse weather and Harrison’s totals stood at 18 school closures because of the weather.

One school official said the state has added three days to the six day total forgiven for weather conditions. Unless legislations from the state adds more, it means adding two weeks to the school year for Clare County Schools.

Most schools in the central area including the Clare-Gladwin Regional Education Service District schools – Clare, Farwell, Harrison, Gladwin and Beaverton — were open again Tuesday and Wednesday.

More snow, totaling up to six inches was predicted in Clare and surrounding counties for Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.

East of Clare about 4.5 inches had fallen by noon Wednesday, when the weather finally began clearing again.

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