Saturday, November 26, 2022

Blizzard warning over, E.L. hit with 11 inches of snow

February 1, 2011
Students drive down Albert Ave. waving a Michigan State flag and pulling their friend on a sled celebrating the snow day on Wednesday morning. Classes were canceled on Wednesday for the first time since 1994 because of a winter storm. Lauren Wood/The State News
Students drive down Albert Ave. waving a Michigan State flag and pulling their friend on a sled celebrating the snow day on Wednesday morning. Classes were canceled on Wednesday for the first time since 1994 because of a winter storm. Lauren Wood/The State News —
Photo by Lauren Wood | and Lauren Wood The State News

Update 1:00 p.m.

The East Lansing Public Works Department is working through the snow in an attempt to clear up roads and keep the community safe during winter weather.

Todd Sneathen, director of public works in East Lansing, said employees made two or three snowplow passes on East Lansing’s major streets and sidewalks through the night and will continue to do so throughout the day as the snow falls. He said the city will likely start plowing local streets later this afternoon, but if the snow continues falling so heavily they might not get plowed until tomorrow morning.

Sneathen said the city has postponed today’s trash and recycling pickup until Thursday — weather permitting — so everyone on the public works staff could help with snow cleanup. He said operations for this storm are not much different from the city’s ordinary winter weather procedure and have been running smoothly thus far.

“Except for the huge amount of snow, everything is relatively normal,” he said. “Everybody’s behaving reasonably and responsibly — there aren’t many people out at this point in time, which I think makes a big difference.”

Sneathen said the easiest way for residents to stay safe in the weather is to stay off the roads, and to park their cars off the streets if possible.

Update 11:46 a.m.

Contrary to some rumors, there is nothing in university or MSU police department policy against students having snowball fights, MSU police Sgt. Florene McGlothian-Taylor said.

McGlothian-Taylor said as long as the snowball fights do not get out of hand and nothing is damaged, there is no reason for police to intervene.

“As long as (students) aren’t damaging property or throwing (snowballs) at vehicles they are fine to have snow ball fights,” McGlothian-Taylor said. “There’s nothing in our policy that is against it.”

Update 8:43 a.m.

The blizzard warning was downgraded to a winter weather advisory at 4 a.m. this morning, said Brandon Hoving, a meterologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Rapids.

The Lansing area was hit with about 11 inches of snow during the blizzard warning. A few more inches are expected to accumulate throughout the day, bringing snowfall totals to between 13 and 15 inches, Hoving said.

East Lansing police Capt. Kim Johnson said there were no serious accidents last night. He said besides regular police and fire calls, there were no emergencies that were storm-related.

Update 11:20 p.m.

At 10:53 p.m., winds were gusting at 31 mph — just below 35 mph necessary to reach blizzard criteria, coupled with reduced visibilities — at Lansing’s Capital City Airport, according to the latest data from the National Weather Service.

During the night, about 2 to 3 inches of snow per hour might occur in the heaviest snow bands, bringing storm total accumulations to 10 to 16 inches. Should intense snowfall occur, meteorologists warn thundersnow — lighting and thunder during a snowstorm — might be experienced by some throughout the area.

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The blizzard warning is slated to expire 7 p.m. Wednesday.

All Wednesday classes at MSU have been canceled in light of what meteorologists are calling a dangerous snowstorm expected to move through the area late Tuesday night into the day.

Officials made a campus-wide announcement via e-mail, saying safety concerns trumped the need to hold classes. It is the first time administrators have made such a call since 1994.

“This has the potential of being one of the top five snowstorms in history as related to this region,” MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon said to an Academic Governance committee Tuesday afternoon.

The National Weather Service in Grand Rapids is predicting 10 to 16 inches of snow will fall in the area between midnight and mid-morning Wednesday. Wind gusts up to 40 mph are expected, with a wind chill of zero to five degrees below possible.

The conditions will close all East Lansing services other than fire, police and public works, which is tasked with plowing city streets, deputy city manager George Lahanas said.

A university e-mail sent to students, faculty and staff indicated all campus buildings will be closed to the public Wednesday. Only university faculty and staff who carry out tasks imperative to daily and emergency operations are required to report to work, the e-mail said.

All campus events scheduled for Wednesday have been canceled.

Keep checking and follow @thesnews on Twitter for more updates.

Update 5:35 p.m.

MSU faculty and staff supporting critical functions should report to work Wednesday, according to an MSU release.

Parking will be limited to MSU ramps and employee shuttles are available on demand by calling (517) 355-1855.

IM facilities and the Main Library will open 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Update 5:30 p.m.

The State News will not publish a Wednesday edition of the newspaper, but continue to check and our Twitter feed at throughout tonight and Wednesday for the latest information.

Update 5:15 p.m.

Capital Area Transportation Authority routes 30-33, Night Owl service and Lot Link service are canceled Wednesday, beginning at midnight, said Debbie Alexander, the assistant executive director at CATA.

Routes in the 20s are expected to operate regularly as the weather permits, she said.

Update 5 p.m.

About a foot of snow still is expected for the Lansing area during the duration of this week’s impending blizzard, said John Kowaleski, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Grand Rapids.

Although there were concerns about the dry slot — an area of the storm too dry to allow for any snowfall — approaching the area, forecasters are confident it will not reach East Lansing, he said.

“(We’re) not expecting that to have a severe impact on accumulations,” Kowaleski said. “That’s more of an impact for the Michigan/Ohio border.”

The blizzard warning now is in effect for heavy snow and winds gusting to 40 mph until 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Update 4:33 p.m.

An East Lansing official said City Hall and most other city buildings will close down Wednesday.

The only services that will operate are the East Lansing Fire Department, East Lansing police, public works and the wastewater treatment plant, deputy city manager George Lahanas said.

Lahanas said the city’s parking lots and structures likely will be unstaffed tomorrow, meaning gates might be up for motorists braving the storm.

City officials will evaluate whether to staff the lots and ramps as conditions become known, he said.

Lahanas also expressed a need for city residents to keep cars off the streets throughout the night and into Wednesday to make way for city plows.

“We’re advising and the county’s advising people to keep off the roads tomorrow,” Lahanas said.

Additionally, Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero declared a snow emergency for the capital city.

The move broadens the mayor’s powers to allocate city resources as necessary in the event of dangerous conditions, spokesman Randy Hannan said.

Bernero also is able to order citizens off roads and decree cars parked on city streets be towed, Hannan said.

Update 4:15 p.m.

MSU has e-mailed campus to inform students of a university-wide class cancellation. It is one of only a handful of times administrators have done so.

“The university has been carefully monitoring the forecasts of severe weather, and has determined for the safety of our students to suspend all classes scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 2,” the e-mail said.

All academic buildings will be closed as well, according to the e-mail.

MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon said during a meeting of the Executive Committee of Academic Council the university will remain open despite classes being canceled.

Simon said such things as the Simon Power Plant and dorm dining halls will be operational Wednesday.

“This has the potential of being one of the top five snowstorms in history as related to this region,” Simon said. “There’s not an option to close the university because there are some things that have to go on.”

Update 3:20 p.m.

BREAKING: Provost Kim Wilcox: All MSU classes canceled Wednesday. University to remain open.

Update 3:12 p.m.

MSU officials will issue a statement at 5 p.m. concerning the possibility of university-wide class cancellations, said a staffer in the office of Fred Poston, MSU vice president for finance and operations.

Update 3 p.m.

Several Big Ten university student newspapers, including Indiana University’s “Indiana Daily Student” and Northwestern University’s “The Daily Northwestern,” are reporting classes cancelled at least for this evening and into Wednesday.

Calls to MSU University Relations were unreturned Tuesday afternoon.

Update 1:45 p.m.

As the snowstorm approaches the area, 10 to 16 inches of snow in addition to blizzard conditions now can be expected for the East Lansing area, said Brandon Hoving, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Grand Rapids.

Snowfall amounts that high might place this storm in record-breaking territory, he said.

“We’re close enough to a point to know that this is going to happen,” Hoving said. “(People) need to be aware that the storm is coming.”

A blizzard warning still is slated to go into effect at 5 p.m. this afternoon because of the threat of heavy snow and winds gusting near 40 mph.

National Weather Service meteorologists are calling the situation an “extremely dangerous storm” and area residents should begin to complete all necessary precautions by early this evening.

Update 12:40 p.m.

The state House and Senate have canceled committee meetings and regular sessions scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday because of the storm.

Ari Adler, spokesman for House Speaker Jase Bolger, R-Marshall, said the speaker made the call earlier this morning after senators voted to cancel their meetings and sessions for the coming days.

“It is a safety concern,” Adler said. “We have representatives who come from all over the state.”

House and Senate office buildings in Lansing are scheduled to close Wednesday, and leaders will evaluate whether to reopen them Thursday after the brunt of the storm passes.

“Session has been canceled before due to weather; I think that shows the seriousness of the predictions,” Adler said.

A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, could not immediately be reached for comment.

If an impending snowstorm develops as expected, Mid-Michigan will be in the bullseye for snowfall measured by the foot this evening into Wednesday night.

Ten to 14 inches of snow — in addition to winds gusting to 40 mph— will create significant blowing and drifting snow, according to the National Weather Service in Grand Rapids. With these threats, a blizzard warning is slated to go into effect at 5 p.m. this evening until 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Meteorologists are warning residents that travel and commerce across the area are expected to be severely impacted once the storm approaches the state.

As of 9 a.m., the storm system was centered in northeast Texas, moving northeast. Heavy snow is affecting parts of Oklahoma and Kansas, where areas there could experience blizzard conditions as well.

Conditions are expected to improve Wednesday evening as the storm system moves away from the region and the winds diminish.

Keep checking throughout the day and follow us on Twitter at for the latest information.


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