August 20, 2019

Anticipated winter storm forces closure of organizations, businesses


NORTHERN MICHIGAN - An anticipated winter storm threatening up 12 inches of snow and bitter cold temperatures forced the closure of many schools, private businesses and public organizations around Northeast Michigan Jan. 28.

The storm, which was originally projected to begin overnight Jan. 28, was later adjusted to occur during the day time and was expected to drop up to nine inches of snow while temperatures hovered near 13 degrees with a wind chill as low as -18 degrees.

The Michigan State Police West Branch Post released an advisory urging residents to stay home during the storm.

"We are asking people to stay home in order to stay safe," Post Commander 1st Lt. Chris Luty said in the release.

Among some of the closures were the county offices in Arenac, Ogemaw and Oscoda counties.

"Emergency services will be working but please remember response time may be delayed if we get the weather/snow that is forecasted," the Oscoda County Sheriff Office announcement read.

Arenac County Central Dispatch urged residents to bring their pets inside and stay indoors.

"Please bundle up if you must go outside," the announcement read. "Frostbite can occur in just 15 minutes. And please don't leave your dogs and cats outside. Make sure other outdoor animals have plenty of straw to bury themselves in. Let trickles of water run through your lines to prevent freezing. A little higher electric or water bill is cheaper than replacing them if they burst."

All the schools in the region were closed, including those located in Arenac, Ogemaw and Oscoda counties.

Also closed were the public transits, district libraries and commissions on aging in the counties.

The closures weren't limited to only local government offices, but also state and federal offices in many of the counties. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced around 10 a.m. that all Lower Peninsula offices will be closed in response to the storm.

"This is about keeping all Michiganders safe," Whitmer said in a press release. "All motorists are encouraged to stay off of the roads. If you must be out, please drive safely in these dangerous weather conditions and be respectful of road crews working to clear snow and ice."

The storm was projected to last until around midnight Jan. 29 and when it clears, the area was projected to have more than 12 inches of snow and the bitter cold remaining. Actual totals were not available at presstime.


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