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Winter storm warning up to 9 inches of snow coming

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The winter storm dubbed “Mateo” by the weather channel is hitting the region, forcing the cancellation of hundreds of schools and flights, commuting headaches and declarations of snow emergencies throughout the region. 

Snowfall of 6-9 inches is expected as the storm will continue to bear down on Metro Detroit through Friday, according to the National Weather Service. The snow will continue to be steady all day, forecasters said. 

The snow started in the Metro Detroit region around 1 or 2 a.m., said Trent Frey of the National Weather Service in White Lake Township.

Winter storm warnings remain in effect for Wayne, Monroe, Washtenaw and Lenawee counties.

“Our current thinking is that the worst of it will be for those bottom four counties,” he said.

“That’s something that we’re continuing to monitor through the day is the trend and where we think the heaviest will fall,” he said. “If we think it will actually pick up for like Oakland and Macomb counties, then we’ll adjust the warnings.

“It’s still on track for what we have in the forecast. We are still looking at somewhere in the 7-to-8, 7-to-9 range for Detroit,” Frey said.

Oakland and Macomb counties are under a winter storm advisory. For the winter storm advisory areas in Macomb and Oakland counties, Frey said they are looking at between 4 to 7 inches of snow accumulation.

The heavier amounts of snow will “taper off” in the evening around 7 to 9 p.m., he said, but there is a chance for continuing snow showers overnight.

The snow falling now is more like a “drier, fluffier snow,” he said.   

In Lansing, about 2 inches of snow accumulated as of Friday morning and the city is expecting a total of 6 inches. 

“Our Operations and Maintenance crews are working hard to keep roads safe as the snow continues to fall throughout the day,” said Mayor Andy Schor. “We are prepared and ready to keep the City of Lansing moving.”

Snow across southern and central Michigan ranged up to 7 inches on the western side of the state.

Hopeful travelers hoping to get out of town at Detroit Metro Airport braved long security lines and some trepidation early Friday. A line of at least 200 people waited to clear security around 6 a.m. Friday at the airport. 

Winter weather:Latest conditions and updates

Winter weather:More than 100 Detroit Metro flights canceled

Debra Ackerman, 46, said she had planned to be on a flight to San Diego at 8:35 a.m. before it was canceled at 6 a.m. Friday. 

“I’m now rebooked on another Spirit flight expected to leave around 1,” said Ackerman, a Novi resident. “I’m not sure if it’s the snow or what’s the deal, but I knew this would happen. Luckily, I had trip insurance and they automatically rebooked me. I’m going for a week so it’s not major if I don’t get there today.”

Trent Frey, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in White Lake Township said many areas of Metro Detroit can expect the snowfall to hit the “upper range” of the predicted snowfall by the time this storm front passes. 

“It’s going to be messy,” Frey said. 

Crystal Carroll said she left her home near Gratiot Avenue and Interstate 696 a little earlier Friday morning to get to her bus stop.

“I was hoping the bus would be on time,” she said.

Carroll, 46, aid she takes the bus to her job at a restaurant every day. She was at the stop by 7:30 a.m. to catch her 7-minute ride and be at work by 8 a.m.

She said she bundled up for the snow as well.

Carroll said she thinks Friday’s snowstorm is the kind cities in New York and the East Coast are usually socked with.

“You know they always say we’re going to get so many inches of snow and it never happens because the storms pass us by,” she said. “Since I don’t know what’s going to happen, I try to be prepared. That’s why I’m out here early.”

Down the road, George Glass of Roseville was waiting for his bus near Martin Road.

He said he was heading to work at an auto body shop in Mount Clemens.

“It’s not as bad as it’s been before,” he said. “If people take their time and be cautious, everything will be fine.”

He said his secret weapon against the cold is leather pants.

“I’m layered,” he said. “They keep me warm.”

The weather service issued a winter storm warning for Washtenaw, Wayne, Lenawee, and Monroe counties through midnight Friday.

Communities declared a snow emergency as early as Thursday evening in preparation for the storm.  Schools throughout the region closed Friday and the storm is expected to continue throughout the day. The cancellations racked up Friday with more than 110 flights were canceled at the airport, according to FlightStats.com. The canceled flights included trips to Mexico City, Los Angeles, New York, New Jersey, Flordia, Illinois, Ohio and Maine.  

In addition, meteorologists say light accumulating snow is possible Saturday night into Sunday as low pressure tracks through the eastern Ohio Valley. No more than a couple of inches are expected.

Extended forecast

Friday: Snow with a high near 28 degrees and a low of 18 degrees. Up to 9 inches of snow is expected to fall in the region. 

Saturday: Cloudy with a high near 28 degrees and a low of about 20 degrees. Snow is likely after 1 p.m. with less than half an inch possible.

Sunday: Snow before 1 p.m. with an inch possible. Temperatures are expected to reach a high of about 29 degrees and a low of 13 degrees.

Monday: Sunny with a high near 28 degrees and a low of about 16 degrees.

Tuesday: Partly sunny with a high near 37 degrees and a low of about 25 degrees.

Wednesday: Partly sunny with a high near 37 degrees.

Source: National Weather Service

Staff writer Leonard N. Fleming contributed

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