Light snow causing big problems

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WEST MICHIGAN -- Some kids had the day off from school thanks to weather conditions and/or Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Perhaps that was a good thing since we saw numerous accidents across West Michigan Monday morning.

The accidents weren't attributed to heavy snow, but we do have WINTER WEATHER ADVISORIES in effect for our lakeshore counties through Tuesday morning for 1" to 3" possible along/west of U.S. 131. The problem comes in with the Arctic air that has penetrated as far south as Georgia!

Once temperatures fall below 17 degrees, the salt has little/no melting's simply too cold. Surfaces must be scraped and perhaps a sand/salt mix applied to combat the icy roadways. What happens can be attributed to not only temperature, but also snow production itself. Within an Arctic air mass what meteorologists refer to as the DGZ, or dendritic growth zone, of snowflakes is fairly low to the ground. The DGZ is the location where the optimum snowflake production occurs. In this case, snowflakes are small, granular, and tend to compact and compress easily on the roadways. It essentially turns to ice when cars run over it.

These icy conditions, along with folks moving too fast, is adding to the accident roster across the area. Roll-overs, multi-car/multi-vehicle accidents, especially along U.S. 131 and I-196 are all over.

Temperatures today will only make about 12 to 15 degrees. Westerly winds at 10 to 20 mph will yield wind chills between zero to -10. Bundle up! We should make the 20s Tuesday.

Get the complete forecast at Drive safely.



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