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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — With rain in the forecast this weekend, Sarah Pastoor at Willis and Jurasek CPA’s and Consultants decided to call up the experts to deal with the foot of snow on their roof.

“They said they’d be out today right away to get the snow removed from the roof,” said Pastoor.

Bill Friberg and his crew from All Gutter Systems are removing snow that’s sure to become a hazard if it’s not dealt with soon.

“Just trying to get it down and work as safe as possible. We are going to clear any vents that are up here on the roof so the added space can breathe and vent properly,” said Friberg.

For Friberg, it’s safety first.

“We got the guys going at diagonals which allows for them to get some footing as they go and then we keep a kind of safety net here, and that keeps us so we don’t slide off the roof,” said Friberg.

Friberg said that the big concern is the weight, which could cause the roof to collapse if it isn’t removed.

“The snow has been getting heavier on the roof because the humidity level is going up. We can tell. When we started today all that light fluffy snow that was two feet deep was a breeze taking it off. This right here, we got about a foot and it’s harder than the two feet we did two hours ago, said Friberg.

Grattan Academy Principal Tom Kreiner said with a flat roof at the high school, it’s crucial that he keeps an eye on the snow levels.

“I’m going to have to try and remove as much snow as possible. I’m definitely am going to make sure our roof drains are free and clear so that the water can drain as it should,” said Kreiner.

Experts say even though it can cost a couple hundred dollars to hire a company to come and remove the snow, that expense is cheaper than to fix a collapsed roof.

SOUTH HAVEN, Mich. — He’s known for capturing some of the most breath-taking scenes around the state. And not even this latest winter storm could keep him away from the pier at South Haven.

FOX 17 caught up with professional photographer, Neil Weaver, as he stood fearlessly in the arctic temperatures and near white out conditions on the edge of Lake Michigan.

“I think the extreme elements make it more exciting,” explained Weaver. “To be out of your comfort zone a little bit. You get photos a lot of people wont get.”

From vibrant colors of Fall to the mysterious ice sculptures of Winter, no place is off-limits, including the frozen pier.

“I don’t recommend coming out here but I had to do it,” said Weaver. “As long as you don’t go near the edge of it or get off it you’re fine. I stay really clear of the edges bc anything can happen.”

This U.P. guy can’t imagine wanting to be anywhere else on an extreme Winter day.

“I’ve lived downstate for seven years and this is the best one so far,” Weaver explained. “This reminds me of the old days in the UP; feels like winter.”

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Snow, blowing snow, and ice crystals in the clouds have caused a lot of problems for West Michigan this week — however, there is one photogenic facet of all that cold air.  Phenomena known as “light pillars,” “sun pillars,” and “sun dogs”  have been seen across the area over the past couple of days.

Sun dogs are not terribly rare, and are seen at many times of year — they appear at around 22° angles on one or both sides of the sun as it shines through thin cirrus clouds that contain ice crystals that refract the light.  But this week, the cold air and blowing snow has resulted in extensive ice crystals floating in the atmosphere near the surface.  This creates a situation where any light source near the horizon can generate a pillar of light that shoots up vertically into the sky.  When the sun is rising or setting, it can appear in conjunction with sun dogs, as seen in the pictures below:


Sun Pillar & Sun Dogs – Jason Dykstra, Shelbyville


Sun Pillar and Sun Dogs – Photo: Audrey Debri (via Joe Kas on Twitter)

The effect is even more breathtaking when it happens with artificial lights at the surface, because you will often see multiple beams of light skyrocketing into the night sky.  These photos came in from FOX 17 viewers Wednesday morning:


Light Pillars – Jen Pulham via Facebook


Light Pillars – Melanie Daler, Lake Odessa

Similar pillars were reported in places like Greenville and Ionia.

Don’t forget to post your weather-related photos on the FOX 17 Facebook page or Twitter with the hashtag #FOX17snow.  You can also email photos to

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Extreme Cold Means It’s Time To Conserve Electricity

smart meter.jpegVALLEY FORGE, Penn. — Our arctic blast puts a strain on electricity suppliers, and it’s time to conserve, according to the operator of the power grid for thirteen states, including Michigan.

PJM issued a statement Tuesday morning that said the most important times to save energy during cold snaps is between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. and between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.

“Conserving electricity on Tuesday will help ensure adequate power supplies,” said the company’s statement. Extremely cold weather causes an increase in electricity demand, it said.

The company had tips on how to save electricity in the coldest weather:

Set thermostats lower than usual, if health permits,
Postpone using major electric appliances such as stoves, dishwashers and clothes dryers until mid‐day or after 9 p.m., when the demand for electricity decreases, and

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The extreme freeze combined with wicked wind chills aren’t just miserable to be in, they are dangerous as well.

Authorities are urging people to stay inside if they can.  Extended periods outdoors can quickly lead to a trip to the emergency room.

According to doctors are Metro Health Hospital in Wyoming a lot of people are apparently listening to that advice.

The staff at the hospital were told to prepare for an overnight stay if needed as conditions continue to worsen outside.

Frostbite on exposed skin is a real concern in this type of weather according to Metro Health Emergency Room Doctor Patricia Guntern.

“They might start to get numb and tingly,” she said.  “Then you might start to lose all feeling and that would be a really bad sign.”

With negative wind chills approaching -30, frostbite can set in in as little as 15 minutes.

Dr. Guntern said, “Your skin will start to get really red at first and then it might start to blanch or become white.”

If you react too late you can still try and treat the frostbite without a trip to the hospital.

“The best way to warm up is to stick your hands in a warm water bath or a warm blanket, or towel, or a warm part of your body,” she said.

Hot water should be avoided as it can burn your body and lead to other problems.

Another major concern for health professionals is hypothermia.  Doctors say this comes on differently for many people.  Usually if you stop shivering and are still cold or can’t think clearly you should get inside and warm up immediately.

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FOX 17 talks with Lt. Therese Cremonte with the Michigan State Police. She says you should only drive if you can’t avoid it.

snowtotalsWEST MICHIGAN — The Winter Storm that moved through West Michigan Sunday dumped over a foot of snow in many areas south of I-96. Here is a look at snow totals around West Michigan:


Otsego: 11.0″

Martin: 13.0″


Irving: 10.5″

Orangeville: 15.0″


Benton Harbor: 18.8″

Saint Joseph: 14.8″

Berrien Center: 14.0″

New Buffalo: 10.0″


Coldwater: 19.0″

Kinderhook: 13.0″

Union City: 11.0″


Battle Creek: 11.0″

Albion: 15.0″

Marshall: 17.0″


Dowagiac: 12.5″

Marcellus: 11.0″


Yorkville: 9.0″

Kalamazoo: 10.5″

Oshtemo: 11.0″

Portage: 11.2″

Cooper: 11.5″

Schoolcraft: 12.5″

Vicksburg: 16.0″

Augusta: 17.0″


Grandville: 6.7″

Ada: 7.0″

Rockford: 7.2″

East Grand Rapids: 7.5″

Kentwood: 7.6″

Comstock Park: 8.3″


Greenville: 6.2″


Fremont: 1.0″


Beechwood: 8.0″

Allendale: 8.9″

Jenison: 9.0″

St. Joseph-

Colon: 14.0″

Constantine: 13.5″

Van Buren-

Mattawan: 13.0″