Winter Weather

Andrew Cluley / 89.1 WEMU

Last winter's harsh weather forced communities across Michigan to use more salt and fill more potholes than is typically the case.  This left less money available for roadwork, and the problems are expected to linger.  


Frozen Lake Michigan In March
Andrew Cluley / 89.1 WEMU

Ice still covers over 20 percent of the Great Lakes surface, following a winter that nearly saw records set for the total amount of ice coverage.  As one would expect Lake Superior leads the way with about 41 percent ice coverage, but even Lake Huron was still one-quarter ice covered this week.  

  
Ann Arbor's Main Street
Andrew Cluley / 89.1 WEMU

Despite all of the snow this winter, the sidewalks along Main Street in downtown Ann Arbor remained easily passable for pedestrians.  That’s thanks in large part to the Main Street Business Improvement Zone, an effort where property owners have voluntarily agreed to pay more taxes for a variety of services. 

Ed Shaffran is President of The Shaffran Companies and chairman of the Main Street BIZ.  He says next month property owners on some neighboring streets will vote to see if the BIZ will expand.


Andrew Cluley / 89.1 WEMU

At least one Ann Arbor neighborhood may change the way snow and ice is removed from sidewalks next winter.  Ann Arbor businessman Paul Tinkerhess and others are working on the SnowBuddy concept to have a small tractor plow all of the sidewalks in the Water Hill neighborhood.  

Andrew Cluley / 89.1 WEMU

Downtown Ann Arbor is now basked in sunshine, and the sidewalks are cleared, but that doesn’t mean people are venturing out just yet.  Main Street remains a little quieter than normal Wednesday afternoon, following another snowstorm.

michiigan.aaa.com

Our snowy morning commute made for a slow drive for motorists, and a busy time for AAA Michigan.

AAA Michigan spokesperson Nancy Cain said the auto club had assisted close to 2,300 motorists as of 4pm Wednesday, and was still pretty busy.

Cain said she expected that as the weather cleared up things would slow down a bit.

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Ypsilanti Residents Taking Snow in Stride

Mar 12, 2014
Bob Eccles / 89.1 WEMU

While this latest winter storm found Ypsilanti residents out shoveling snow this morning, they seemed to be trying to find the positive side.

Jennifer Hackett was clearing snow on South Huron Street. She said the snow fell on a day when she didn't have to make her usual drive into Detroit's northern suburbs, so she was happy for that.

Along Harriet Street, Anthony Scott  was shoveling a driveway and sidewalk for a little extra cash.  He said this has been an excellent winter for making money shoveling snow.

Andrew Cluley / 89.1 WEMU

The Great Lakes pushed within a couple of points from setting a new record for the percent of frozen surface.  The 95 percent frozen mark set a record in 1979, now appears to be safe, and a University of Michigan scientist doesn’t believe there will be lasting weather impacts from the large amounts of ice, either. 

The bitter cold is back for another round in Southeast Michigan, raising concerns about more water pipe breaks. Ann Arbor has seen a high number of water main breaks this winter already.

The bitter cold weather is expected to last through the weekend causing health concerns.  

Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje calls on residents to take advantage of the warmer weather and clean off their sidewalks.  Hieftje admits the amount of snow, and the freezing rain a few walks ago caused a mess, but many people rely on walking to get to jobs and other important appointments.

Communities across the nation are facing shortages of road salt thanks to this year's harsh winter weather.  Ann Arbor isn't in as bad a situation as many communities but the city is looking at buying more salt.

The Washtenaw County Road Commission spent $565,000 - one fifth of its budget - to clear snow and maintain roads during the severe weather earlier this month.

Nearly 3000 tons of salt and sand were dumped onto roads, and plow crews and other road personnel worked non-stop for five days to make sure the roads remained clear.

Washtenaw County Road Commission DIrector of Operation Jim Harmon says costs generated so far this season will not affect services going forward. He says the cost of cleaning up from a storm of that size is not unusual.