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East Lansing likely to be hit hard by storm

February 24, 2016
Psychology junior Olivia Ottenbacher walks home from class on Feb. 24, 2016 outside of Student Services. Ottenbacher said the snowstorm caused her face to hurt.
Psychology junior Olivia Ottenbacher walks home from class on Feb. 24, 2016 outside of Student Services. Ottenbacher said the snowstorm caused her face to hurt. —
Photo by Nic Antaya | and Nic Antaya The State News

Check in for updates regarding travel hazards, accidents and possible MSU class and schedule changes due to the weather.


Update Friday, 11:30 a.m.

East Lansing Department of Public Works crews cleared the snow from major streets late Thursday morning and about 6:45 that night, according to a City of East Lansing statement.

Crews will be working on clearing and salting trouble spots throughout the rest of Friday. 

East Lansing would like to remind residents of snow removal requirements. Snow falling before noon must be cleared by midnight the same day, while snow accumulating after noon must be cleared by midnight the following day.

The city also responded to complaints from residents who raised an issue with snow plows dumping snow into the opening of driveways. The statement said due to the angle of the plows, this was unavoidable. 

Update Thursday, 11:55 a.m. 

National Weather Service meteorologist Jared Maples updated The State News on the severity of the snow storm.

Maples said the Lansing and East Lansing areas received around nine to 10 inches of snow with winds of 25 to 30 mph. He said gusts of wind have reached up to 30 to 35 mph during the storm.

"As far as the snowfall goes, it's pretty much through," Maples said.

Maples said the snow has started to taper off and the storm should be close to over near 4 p.m. with wind gusts sticking around later.


Updated 2:44 p.m.

A snow emergency has been declared in East Lansing by city manager George Lahanas with permission from Mayor Mark Meadows, according to a City of East Lansing statement. From 10 p.m. Wednesday to 5 p.m. Thursday, parking on any street will be prohibited to help the city's plow operations. 

54B District Court, East Lansing City Hall and the East Lansing Department of Health will be closed at 3 p.m. Wednesday and will open late at 10 a.m. Thursday.

Drivers are being asked to drive with extreme caution or not at all as road conditions continue to deteriorate. Residents are being asked to shovel their driveways and sidewalks early and often. 


Updated 2:30 p.m.

The National Weather Service has updated it's winter storm warning to go through Thursday at 4 p.m., and predicts six to 12 inches of snowfall and occasional wind gusts up to 40 mph. The service described the snow as heavy and wet, which will make shoveling and snow removal more difficult.

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Updated 2:12: p.m.

Ingham County Sheriff's Office has announced all Ingham County government offices at closed at 2 p.m. and sent all its employees home at noon. 


Updated 12:55 p.m.

The East Lansing Hannah Community Center will be closing early Wednesday at 5 p.m., according to an alert from the East Lansing Police Department. The East Lansing Public Library and its Maker Studio will be closing early at the same time. 

A meeting scheduled for the East Lansing Planning Commission has been canceled as well and the next regularly scheduled meeting is March 23.

In addition, all "non-essential" State offices in Lansing have been closed for the rest of today.


East Lansing and much of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula is expected to be hit by heavy snow and high winds beginning Wednesday afternoon and heading into much of Thursday according to the National Weather Service. 

East Lansing specifically along with much of middle to upper Michigan is under a winter weather warning as anywhere from six to 10 inches to possibly a foot of snow is expected fall, Evan Webb a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Grand Rapids said.

“This storm will likely cause significant impacts,” Webb said. “The Lansing area is really a sweet spot for this.”

The National Weather Service website lists the impacts the storm will cause as reduced visibility on the roads, and possibly impassible roads. The snow is nearly certain to cause closures and cause power outages across the state, according to the website.

Since the storm won’t roll into Lansing area until afternoon tomorrow Webb said getting to school and work wouldn’t be a problem but he advised leaving work early if possible to get home safely. He also advises staying home until roads are safe to travel on.

“It’s got the look of causing significant issues on the highways tomorrow and afternoon and especially in the evening,” Webb said. “The travel conditions could become treacherous fairly quickly tomorrow.”

With power outages likely, residents are asked to visit http://www.consumersenergy.com/outagecenter to report and view outages in their areas. Residents may also call 1-800-477-5050. Lansing Board of Water and Light will also have extra crews on standby in case of outages. To report an outage with BWL, residents can call 877-295-5001.

Webb said he expects schools to be closed on Thursday, but that it is not a foregone conclusion. 

MSU spokesman Jason Cody said MSU was already monitoring the situation but said MSU plans to continue operations until factors from the storm cause the university to shut down operations.

“So much goes into these decisions,” Cody said. “It’s not necessarily just the snow or the amount of snow but the conditions.”

A couple of the factors MSU takes into account is whether or not it is safe for people to be outside and is it safe for people to be walking.

“Now on the account of the snow one of the considerations we have to make isn’t that the snow itself is dangerous it’s can we get roadways, parking lots and sidewalks clear,” Cody said. “Enough of them cleared on campus so that people can navigate.”

A lot of the decisions have to wait until the event unfolds, Cody said. He also stressed that MSU has plans in place for these kinds of situations.

“If we ever do go to a situation where we do modify operations which could be suspending classes, modifying campus activities, the ways that we would communicate that first and foremost is the MSU homepage,” Cody said. “The second any decision like that is made we’ll have it posted at msu.edu immediately.”

The snow effects will undoubtedly have many effects on East Lansing residents. The heavy snow will be almost like “cement, and it will hard to shovel,” said Webb, and he advises caution when shoveling snow.

When it comes to the city preparations, residents are advised to visit the city's website for closures, and snow removal. The city also lists areas of priority for snow removal which are as follows in order of importance:

  1. Main traffic ways for emergency vehicles
  2. State highways
  3. Major streets
  4. Residential streets 

The city however has plans in place for the upcoming storm, and City Manager George Lahanas assured the city’s public works department was on top of things.

“They’ll be staffing appropriately, making sure all the equipment is ready - the plows and salting - and they staff in anticipation of it (the storm) to keep the major roads open during the storm,” Lahanas said. “I’m quite comfortable they’re keeping an eye on it.”

Residents are expected to clear the snow adjacent to their homes and must do so by shoveling or salting but the snow must be cleared or the resident will face an $85 fine. 

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