Cold loosening grip on SE Mich.; travel remains difficult - FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.com

Cold loosening grip on SE Mich.; travel remains difficult

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Frigid weather has gripped the metro Detroit area for the past three days. Frigid weather has gripped the metro Detroit area for the past three days.
Snow remains on a number of streets in Detroit. Snow remains on a number of streets in Detroit.
SkyFOX gives viewers a look at the frozen Detroit River. SkyFOX gives viewers a look at the frozen Detroit River.
The sun rises over Belle Isle on Wednesday morning. The sun rises over Belle Isle on Wednesday morning.
The Detroit skyline seen from Belle Isle on Wednesday morning. The Detroit skyline seen from Belle Isle on Wednesday morning.

DETROIT (AP) -- An arctic blast loosened its grip on Michigan on Wednesday as hundreds of schools stayed closed for a third consecutive day due to the cold and travel was hazardous on icy roads around the state.

Temperatures in Detroit were around zero degrees Wednesday morning and were expected to rise into the teens during the day. It was 15 below zero in Three Rivers, 13 below in Coldwater, 12 below in Ann Arbor and 10 below in Adrian.

A semi crash north of Monroe shut down part of Interstate 75 for several hours Wednesday morning. No injuries were reported. Authorities in Monroe County had been warning people to stay off the roads.

"Citizens are asked not to travel on roads except for essential travel to and from work or emergencies," officials said in an advisory.

Wind chill warnings were in effect across much of the southern Lower Peninsula. Some more snow was possible in places. Michigan authorities have blamed seven deaths on last weekend's snowstorm and the deep freeze.

On Tuesday, with record-low temperatures recorded in some parts of the state, wind chills made it feel as though it were 30 to 40 degrees below. The cold weather froze pipes at some homes, businesses and government offices, and some burst.

About 70 water mains were reported ruptured on Tuesday in Detroit. Two of the worst are at Jefferson Avenue and Conner Street, and the second at Outer Drive and Conner Street.

The Detroit People Mover, which shut down due to extreme cold and low wind chill temperatures, reopened Wednesday morning. Transportation officials had closed the 13-stop, 2.9-mile downtown elevated train loop a day earlier.

Hundreds of elementary, middle and high schools were closed Wednesday in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and St. Clair counties in southeastern Michigan.

Classes at many schools had been scheduled to resume Monday, but heavy snow and cold temperatures extended the holiday break. Several universities around the state also had been closed earlier in the week due to the snow and extreme cold.

The extreme cold followed a weekend storm that dumped more than a foot of snow in some areas. Owosso got 18.7 inches of snow, Flint got 17.1 inches and Detroit's airport got and 10.6 inches, the weather service said.

In Flint, a man told police he was shot while shoveling snow on Sunday. He was in good condition at a hospital.

Crews continued work to clear roads on Wednesday. Streets were covered with packed snow and ice in many places, and freeways were icy at times. In Macomb County outside Detroit, officials said they hoped to clear roads by Friday afternoon.

Weather was a factor in at least three roadway deaths since the weekend, including a driver in Huron County and a pedestrian in Barry County. Four people also collapsed and died while shoveling snow, officials said.

Police in Oakland County's White Lake Township said a fifth person likely died while trying to deal with snow. The body of Alton Barett, 72, was found Tuesday outside his home near a tractor used to clear snow, police said.

Ice and snow caused difficulties, and that wasn't limited to those on land. Coast Guard crews from the U.S. and Canada worked to provide Great Lakes freighters with a safe escort through ice on the St. Clair River.

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