GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Widespread snow, sleet and freezing rain developed around West Michigan Wednesday, causing slide-offs and jackknifed semis and knocking out power, particularly in the southern tier.
All winter alerts expired by Thursday morning. Despite the lack of warnings in place, most school districts have closed for Thursday due to lingering ice on roadways.
Dozens of reports came pouring in Wednesday evening and Thursday morning. Areas near and around I-96 saw well over an inch of sleet. A light dusting of snow was recorded within Kent County, but it was minimal compared to further north. Pockets well above a foot were estimated by radar. South of I-96 and toward the lakeshore saw a bit more freezing rain. Portage saw nearly half an inch of freezing rain leading to widespread power outages in the area.
Travel was expected to remain challenging into late Thursday morning and early afternoon hours as crews work to treat roads. Normal travel times were expected by late Thursday and Friday morning.
Power outages remain a huge concern Thursday, with about 200,000 Consumers Energy customers affected, most of those in southern Michigan counties like Kalamazoo and Jackson.
There is one silver lining to Thursday: high temperatures. Most of the area will manage to reach the upper 30s and low 40s allowing treatment on roads to work a bit faster.
A flash freeze is expected Thursday night as temperatures fall to the mid-teens. Friday conditions will improve considerably, but it will be chilly.