By Pat Maurer
Schools and some businesses across the area had three days off this week by press time, when rain, then sleet and freezing temperatures loaded trees and bushes with a layer of ice Monday afternoon and evening. Beautiful, but that same ice coated roads all over the area making driving treacherous and sending multiple vehicles into the ditch.
Some power outages were noted, although most were restored within a few hours.
All of the schools in the area, Clare, Farwell, Harrison, Beaverton and Gladwin were closed, all but Harrison on both Monday and Tues day. Harrison had a two-hour delay Monday, but worsening conditions closed all of the schools on Tuesday, as well as the County Building and Transit services. The condition of the back roads closed all Clare-Gladwin RESD schools again on Wednesday.
Following the rain, followed by sleet and ice accumulation (Clare County had approximately .25 inches), about a half inch of snow fell overnight between Monday and Tuesday.
Plow trucks cleared and spread salt on the main roads, but the back roads and gravel roads remained treacherous for drivers. Sunshine Tuesday helped the situation, newscasters said, but they continued to urge people to stay at home.
“Most people did,” Sheriff John Wilson said. “We only had a handful of accidents, with most of those sliding into the ditch due to the ice coating the road.” He noted that a propane truck had overturned due to the icy roads near 8 Point Lake. (see related picture and story).
9 & 10 News reported ice accumulations of nearly a half inch in Oscoda County, .3 inches
in Cadillac; .25 inches in Gladwin and about the same here in Clare County. They reported higher amounts on the west side of the state with Traverse City getting nearly an inch of ice on roads complicated by lake effect snow following the freezing rain. Some sunshine was good news they said, because “even with highs …staying well below freezing, the sunshine would help melt some ice.”
The storm stayed mostly in the northern half of the lower peninsula with little or no ice south of Alma.
Lingering snow showers were predicted for Wednesday and Thursday near the lake shore and in the U.P.
A post by 9 & 10 reported that Houghton Lake, West Branch and Gaylord have received less than average snowfall for the season so far, while Sault Ste Marie was up by about 24 inches, and Traverse City was only slightly more (.2 inches) than the average.