Heavy snowfall buries much of local region

By: Julie Snyder | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published February 11, 2015

 The snow and wind that stormed through much of the region Feb. 1-2 has been called the worst snow storm in metro Detroit in 40 years.

The snow and wind that stormed through much of the region Feb. 1-2 has been called the worst snow storm in metro Detroit in 40 years.

Photo by Julie Snyder


MOUNT CLEMENS/HARRISON TOWNSHIP — For a second time this winter, Mother Nature left Macomb County in a sea of white.

And at press time last week, there was plenty more snow in the forecast.

According to the National Weather Service, the snow and wind that stormed through much of the Midwest and east coast Feb. 1-2 left Michigan’s southeastern region with anywhere from 9.2 inches in Flint in Genesee County to 16.7 inches at Detroit Metropolitan Airport in Wayne County.

It’s being called the worst snow storm in metro Detroit in 40 years.

This resulted in more than just a few closures and cancellations in Macomb County.

L’Anse Creuse Public Schools Superintendent Jackie Johnston canceled classes for more than 11,000 students Feb. 2 and Feb. 3.

She said the decision was an easy one due to the strength of the storm.

“The decision to cancel school due to inclement weather is not taken lightly; we examine many factors including the amount of snowfall, time of snowfall, road conditions, temperature, wind chill, and fleet and facility readiness,” Johnston said in a prepared statement. This was LCPS’s first cancellation this school year due to the weather.

“Many neighborhood roads throughout our district are particularly challenging, and we are concerned about the safe transportation of our students,” Johnston continued. “As always, the safety of our students and staff is our number one priority.”

School district officials across the county canceled their respective classes due to the rate of the snow accumulation and forecasters’ predictions that the snowfall would not dissipate until early in the morning Feb. 2. This meant the snow plows, which work on the major roadways first, followed by residential streets, wouldn’t be seen until the snow finally stopped. A majority of those neighborhood streets were still blanketed in deep snow the morning of Feb. 3, and those roads that were plowed were covered in ice — a result of the freezing temperatures.

Harrison Township does not have its own snow removal equipment, so the community depends on the Macomb County Department of Roads. In Mount Clemens, the city has its own equipment under their Department of Public Services.

Also in L’Anse Creuse, the first night of the Kindergarten Enrollment Fair, which was scheduled to take place the evening of Feb. 3, was also canceled and will be rescheduled.

The weather also forced closures on the government level and the municipal level.

City officials in Mount Clemens canceled their Feb. 2 regular Commission Meeting and rescheduled it for the following Monday, Feb. 9, at 7 p.m.

Mayor Barb Dempsey said while most residential roads were plowed by 5 p.m. on Feb. 2, she felt it was safer to cancel the meeting for residents, as well as city commissioners, one of whom was unable to leave his home because his car was stuck in his driveway.

“It was mainly because the roads were still bad,” she said. “It was safer just to reschedule.”

Mount Clemens Public Services employees plowed 36.5 miles of local roads and 17.1 miles of major roads. Dempsey said DPS employees worked 16 hours straight “to keep the roads open, (and) they also removed about 12 yards of truck capacity of snow piles from various areas in town to another area.

“I believe they did an excellent job during the worst snow storm in 40 years,” Dempsey said.

The Macomb County Community Services Agency (MCCSA) canceled Meals on Wheels, as well as Dining Senior Style on Feb. 2 and Feb. 3. It was the third cancellation for the programs this winter.

“The massive amount of snow, paired with the forecasted cold temperatures and gusty winds, makes meal delivery unsafe,” said Rhonda Powell, director of Macomb County Community Services Agency, which administers Meals on Wheels in the county. “Many of the roads are impassible, and our volunteers are unable to leave their homes.”

About 2,000 seniors benefit from the two programs, which provide a warm, nutritious meal each day at lunch.

The 1,600 Meals on Wheels recipients were alerted to the cancellations in advance. In addition, they received a box of shelf-stable meals in December specifically for days when weather causes a program cancellation. About 400 seniors participate in Dining Senior Style, which provides a meal in a social setting at two dozen senior housing complexes, senior centers and churches throughout the county.

MCCSA’s Head Start program was also closed on Feb. 3. Essential medical transportation, Adult Day transportation and all Macomb County Health Department services resumed as usual, according to Powell.