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Michigan temperatures drop to record-breaking lows

 

Associated Press

KRISTINE DIAS keeps the sidewalk clear around the Bernhard Student Center on Tuesday, in Kalamazoo. Temperatures dropped to dangerous, record-breaking lows in Michigan on Tuesday, leading to the closure of hundreds of schools.

ROMULUS (AP) - Temperatures dropped to dangerous, record-breaking lows in Michigan on Tuesday, leading to the closure of hundreds of schools.

The morning low of 9 degrees below zero at Detroit Metropolitan Airport in Romulus broke the previous record low for Jan. 28 of 8 below set in 1977, the National Weather Service said. With the winds, it felt like 25 to 30 degrees below zero in the Detroit area.

Meteorologist Steve Considine at the weather service office in suburban Detroit said the cold was expected to ease starting Wednesday, with highs in the teens before rising into the 20s Thursday and beyond.

"It's not much, but it's certainly warmer," Considine said.

The coldest readings Tuesday morning were recorded in the Upper Peninsula, where it was 18 below in Ironwood, 17 below in Menominee and 16 below in Iron Mountain. The cold extended throughout the state, with readings of 14 below in Ann Arbor.

With the wind, forecasters say it could feel like 35 below in the Upper Peninsula and 20 to 30 below zero in the Lower Peninsula. It was 8 below in Lansing and zero degrees in Grand Rapids. The high reported Tuesday morning was 8 degrees in South Haven.

The University of Michigan, Eastern Michigan University and Central Michigan University were among schools across the state canceling classes. Hundreds of elementary, middle and high schools also were closed.

The University of Michigan said Tuesday marked the first time since 1978 that the Ann Arbor campus hasn't had classes due to weather. The school also closed its Dearborn and Flint locations.

"While staff should plan to report as usual, we ask that supervisors be flexible and make reasonable accommodations for these extreme circumstances," University of Michigan officials said in a statement. "Travel may be hazardous, especially on foot or by bus, and we ask that all of our colleagues remain sensitive to safety concerns."

Campus operations in Ann Arbor will continue, and University of Michigan Health System was keeping its hospitals and clinics open.

Wayne State University in Detroit closed due to dangerously cold wind chills, and Oakland University in suburban Detroit also canceled classes and events. Grand Valley State University closed all of its campuses. And Northern Michigan University in the Upper Peninsula shut down.

Michigan State University and Western Michigan University bucked the trend and held classes Tuesday. Michigan State junior Joseph Fox told The Detroit News that officials with the East Lansing school must want to show that Spartans are "tough."

"I am walking to class right now, and I am not dead," Fox said.

Three ski resorts in southwestern Michigan closed Tuesday after snow and extreme cold made conditions hazardous in the area. Swiss Valley Ski & Snowboard Area in Cass County said a local ban on non-essential or non-emergency travel was behind the decision.

The Sentinel-Standard of Ionia said bad weather was preventing it from delivering newspapers Tuesday, and subscribers would receive the paper along with the Wednesday edition.

Slick roads and weather conditions contributed to crashes that killed four people over the past several days.

Among them was a 46-year-old man who died Monday morning in Midland after his car was struck by a pickup truck that lost control and overturned on Business Route U.S. 10, according to the Midland Daily News.

A man in the southwestern Michigan community of Paw Paw also died Sunday afternoon as he was snow-blowing his driveway, the victim of an apparent heart attack.

It's been the snowiest January on record in some parts of Michigan, even with a few days remaining in the month. January is on pace to place in the Top 20 coldest in parts of Michigan, the weather service said, with the Detroit and Flint areas possibly making it into the Top 10 depending on this week's temperatures.