GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The snow piled up in the Muskegon and Holland areas on Halloween, causing power outages, canceling trick-or-treating and even school for some districts.
Top snow reports were found in counties previously under the Winter Weather Advisory, including Oceana, Muskegon, Newaygo, and Ottawa Counties. Several reports near Muskegon topped off near 9 inches.
North Muskegon reported downed tree limbs and power lines, blaming heavy snow.
“Please stay off the road and only drive as necessary,” an alert from North Muskegon said.
ROADS AND POWER OUTAGES
The storm caused nearly 40,000 Consumers Energy customers to lose power, most of them in Muskegon County. On Wednesday morning, Consumers Energy said it would have around 200 crews working to restore power after reports of more than 900 downed wires. The Jackson-based utility said it was the fault of “heavy, wet snow mixed with leaves still on the trees.”
Consumers said it was working to restore power to all affected customers by the end of the day Wednesday.
Consumers said it was sending crews, specifically forestry teams, to Muskegon and Ottawa counties. It asked people to be on the lookout for teams alongside roads, slow down and give them plenty of space to work.
It reminded people to stay far away from downed power lines: They could be energized, even if you don’t see sparking. If you see a downed line, call Consumers and 911.
It was slow-going on I-96 in Ottawa County Tuesday afternoon, with a News 8 crew spotting several vehicles in the ditch.
Deputies blamed a crash on Riley Street near 146th Avenue in Park Township on the snow, saying a minivan slid into the path of a school bus. The driver of the minivan sustained minor injuries; no one on the bus was hurt.
In downtown Grand Haven, the wet, heavy snow caused the awning at the Anna’s House restaurant to partially collapse.
Tuesday was forecast to be the coldest day of the week and the season to date, with high temperatures in the upper 30s. Along with a northwesterly breeze, wind chill values will likely be in the 20s much of time the trick-or-treaters are out.
Consumers also reminded people not to run generators in enclosed spaces.
HALLOWEEN WEATHER HISTORY
Despite the unfortunate timing with the holiday, the snowfall is right on time: Our average first trace arrives on Oct. 26.
Snowfall on Halloween itself is fairly rare: Since 1893, Grand Rapids has only seen snowflakes on 12 occasions. More than a trace of snow has only fallen four times; Tuesday marked the fifth.
The coldest high temperature recorded in Grand Rapids on Halloween was 32 degrees in 1917.
Temperatures gradually moderate through the rest of the week, reaching the low 50s by Friday, and long-term forecasts suggest we’ll be near average highs (low-mid 50s) into next week.
TRICK-OR-TREATERS BRAVE THE ELEMENTS
Some areas along the lakeshore received up to eight inches of snow on Tuesday, but that didn’t stop trick-or-treaters.
“It was just really surreal. None was prepared for it,” said Donna Zambetis. “It was like, where is the scraper for the car?”
While getting ready for Halloween, many families in West Michigan were not only putting on their costumes, but also their winter jackets, scarves, hats, gloves and even boots.
“It’s Halloween, it’s just supposed to be leaves, not snow,” said one trick-or-treater.
In Grand Haven, families bundled up their little ones and went on a trek to find the best candy, a tradition many said happens regardless of the weather.
“We’ve been coming down here for 15 years,” said Greg Right, a Grand Haven resident. “We’ve been through the rain, the sleet, the snow. This is the worst it’s ever been though.”
“We we’re looking back, and it’s never been like this before, it is cold… but you know, I have a 2-year-old and a 5-month-old, so trying to keep those traditions alive,” said Elaine Ingalls, also a Grand Haven resident.
During today’s heavy snowfall, multiple cars along I-96 were seen in the ditch.
“It was more of the trick of Halloween, you know, than the treat,” said Zambetis.
You can send your Halloween photos — snowy or otherwise — to ReportIt@woodtv.com. Be sure to include when they were taken and the name to whom we should give credit.