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Sterling, schools cope with Veterans Day snowstorm

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published November 12, 2019

 Mason Paull sleds with his mother, Cheryl, at Delia Park in Sterling Heights during his day off from school Jan. 29.

Mason Paull sleds with his mother, Cheryl, at Delia Park in Sterling Heights during his day off from school Jan. 29.

File photo by Deb Jacques

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Sterling Heights city offices are supposed to be closed and quieter on the federal holiday of Veterans Day. But behind the scenes, city officials were busy dealing with several inches of snow that were dumped on metro Detroit.

On the city’s social media account Nov. 11, Sterling Heights officials said they had seen around 7 inches accumulate on nondriving surfaces and about 4 inches on the warmer roads. While they didn’t declare a snow emergency that day, they changed course the next day after additional snow fell overnight and weather alerts forecasted cold weather ahead. 

Sterling Heights Community Relations Director Melanie Davis described how the city made its judgment calls.

“We got another few inches of snow overnight, so we resumed a conference call (and declared an emergency) so they could efficiently come out and make sure the roadways were cleared as needed,” she said.

So the city declared its snow emergency on the morning of Nov. 12, requiring that no vehicles remain parked in the streets so the city could clear away snow through salting and plowing. Additionally, property owners have to shovel or plow their sidewalks within a day after snow finishes accumulating. 

Sterling Heights Department of Public Works Director Michael Moore was managing the work crews. He said city officials wanted to started clearing streets about midnight Nov. 12, but the snow kept falling through the night, so work crews couldn’t really get started in the neighborhoods until around 5 a.m.  

“I would estimate that maybe a total estimated snowfall of 8 to 9 inches in Sterling Heights,” he said. “We appreciate everybody’s patience, and we kindly ask that you remove your vehicle from the street so we can clear the roads of snow effectively.” 

Over at the Utica Community Schools district, students had the day off Nov. 12 for a snow day. UCS spokesman Tim McAvoy said the district’s work crews were “working through the night” and into the early morning to clear parking lots of snow, among other things. But in the end, the volume of snow forced the district to consider canceling classes, he explained.

“It became obvious that the road conditions were just too difficult,” he said.

McAvoy said UCS was continuing to work throughout its snow day to make sure that classes could resume the next day. 

Although Parks and Recreation Director Kyle Langlois said he was out of town, he believes that residents will continue a trend of using a snow day to head over to one of Sterling Heights’ parks, particularly sled-friendly ones like Delia, Chappelle and Beaver Creek.

“Snow days are a good opportunity for kids to get out. People still rely on our park system to get exercise,” he said. “Especially on a day when it’s not frigidly cold, it encourages people to get out.”

Find out more information about Sterling Heights by visiting www.sterling-heights.net or by calling (586) 446-2489.

Call Staff Writer Eric Czarnik at (586) 498-1058.

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