You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 2:59 p.m.

Live storm reports: Follow snowplow ride-along Friday morning

By Amy Biolchini

After an overnight snowfall , the Washtenaw County Road Commission is out salting and clearing roads Friday morning.


Dan Grau, a driver with the Washtenaw County Road Commission, heads out to plow and salt roads Friday morning.

The Road Commission's entire 46-person day crew was scheduled to begin salting and plowing at 4 a.m. Friday, said Jim Harmon, director of operations. You can follow along as reporter Amy Biolchini and photographer Daniel Brenner ride in a snowplow and reports live on road conditions, plowing efforts and traffic problems.

Their updates will include Tweets and photos.

You can participate by Tweeting with hashtag #a2roads.

Amy Biolchini covers Washtenaw County, health and environmental issues for Reach her at (734) 623-2552, or on Twitter.



Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 3:18 p.m.

They were actually out throwing salt loads of salt on dry pavement at 9pm last night around State and Eisenhower. Seems like someone is trying to keep their job. At least the message got across. Pretty good this morning. Couldn't believe it was Ann Arbor on a snow day. Had to make sure I was fully awake and didn't wind up in Wayne County somewhere.

Nicholas Urfe

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 3:13 p.m.

"Is this the WCRC's way to make themselves look better, and is this's way to get more website hits? Stay tuned..." You're so right to be paranoid, and you're close. But the conspiracy goes far deeper. It's just like the faked moon landing. The truck footage will all be green-screened in a garage. They only have one truck, and it's just for PR photoshoots. All the money for trucks and salt - that goes into the coffers of a secret cabal that may or may not be the DDA. I only hope the reporter does not learn the true secret, because we know what happened to OJ in that movie Capricorn One.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 4:34 p.m.

Sarcasm Some people love it, some people don't, and others don't recognize it.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 3:36 p.m.

Nicholas that is ridiculous to say. Maybe will see what elements these guys are up against and see things from their perspective vs. your nice and warm computer desk. Those guys are out there everytime snow falls to help the public out. And I know that they will NEVER make everyone happy becuase the trucks are not out where they are when THEY need it. But they do a great job for what they are up against everyday. Which is the PUBLIC who can't slow down and respect the plow trucks because they are in too big of a hurry and running late, talking on their phone and eating and can't slow down to be safe. The roads are bad....its automatically the Road Commissions fault not Mother Natures.

Bertha Venation

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 2:30 p.m.

Good thing I've got a snow plow attachment on my Kirby!


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 1:51 p.m.

I wonder if anybody plans on plowing the streets downtown. For example, Liberty, Washington, etc.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 2:29 p.m.

I'd surely like to know that, too.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 2:27 p.m.

Not until after they have had their coffee and donuts!

Kyle Feldscher

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 1:25 p.m.

So much for that light dusting.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 2:20 p.m.

"Postcasting" the weather?


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 1:23 p.m.

Glad to see the trucks out today. I was very glad to see the Washtenaw County Road Commission truck that ran the stop sign, going at least 30 mph on Laforge Rd, then tailgated the car in front of him and then blow thru the stoplight (twice, after a u turn) at Clark and Prospect this morning. I could understand this if it was really icy or that there was a lot of snow, but neither was the case. Other than that, good job guys on getting on the roads today.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 2:13 p.m.

Heard that on the scanner...but they didn't give the details like you did.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 1:16 p.m.

Actually not much traffic re: accidents on the scanner since 6:30am. A jacknifed semi on 23 near Stony Creek and a couple of run offs north of that. Then a couple more on I-94 near Baker Rd. One near State Street. But all in all it doesn't seem that much worse than a normal commute...yet. One in the ditch on e bound 14 near the east triple....It's winter in Michigan.

nunya III

Sun, Feb 10, 2013 : 2:10 a.m.

just sick of you blaming the road commission. those guys work their tails off. I wish people would take personal responsibility for crashing. It is winter in MI, so slow the eff down and learn how to drive.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 2:15 p.m.

Nunya III, no need for a personal attack. Did I pull your chain?

nunya III

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 1:21 p.m.

Glad your staying I and listening to the scanner. Don't need you on the road


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 12:54 p.m.

Salt is 45 cents a ton, and the driver will only spread 12-15 tons today? And they are afraid (per previous article) to spread too much salt because of the COST?

Ryan J. Stanton

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 4:26 p.m.

Yes, 45 cents a ton would be quite a bargain. Here's a story I wrote a little while ago about what the city of Ann Arbor is paying for salt this year:


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 1:43 p.m.

$45.00 per ton


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 12:47 p.m.

Just drove Wagner and Ann Arbor Saline-- very sloooow.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 12:29 p.m.

I cant believe A2 schools are open! Every school in a 30 mile radius is closed! Bad call on A2 schools if you ask me... there isnt much snow but there is ice. This made no sense to me at all!


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 2:44 p.m.

After I drove to the Park & Ride early, we called our own snow day, at least for this morning. The kids don't need to be out driving in this.

Paula Gardner

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 11:48 a.m.

My kids got up before I did to check school closings. They're bitter than Ann Arbor is still open, but have fingers crossed still. I can't say how the roads are on the east side of the city, but it looks like snow is extremely light right now.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 1:40 p.m.

If you haven't heard by 5:30am, then school is open in Ann Arbor (that's their deadline) robo-call came this morning :-(

Susan Montgomery

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 11:38 a.m.

Wow, you're not kidding - though I'm guessing some of the schools made that decision yesterday...


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 11:23 a.m.

As Friday morning at 6:30? 600 schools closed? Ann Arbor Public Schools OPEN> Sucks doesn't it? Everyone else surrounding the Ann Arbor area are closed. So, students? Time to walk in the slush.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 10:56 a.m.

Well went outside - not much snow. Too much rock salt. Have to shovel all this into wheel barrel or it will kill grass. Does anyone know if I can just through all this into street? I put down a even 1/2" so there's a lot.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 4:09 a.m.

Here's me been thinking that accidents on snowy and icy roads are due to the slippery road conditions and I come to find out - on reading some of these posts- that it is not that at all. It would seem that they may be due to all the happy tweeters out there who are so intent on having their say in the tweet world that they are doing that instead of watching where they are going. Texting/tweeting and driving DO NOT MIX.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 12:58 p.m.

No, it looks like a lot of drivers ARE tweeting and texting. It DOES cause accidents!


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 11:21 a.m.

I believe that is what you call "pulling one's leg." (aka sarcasm)


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 3:49 a.m.

if they ever predict 8" people in Ann Arbor will be jumping out of windows!


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 2:26 p.m.

LOL not you.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 7:43 a.m.

If I ever find 8" people in Ann Arbor my trunk will be full fast!!!


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 2:59 a.m.

Well I just got done putting down 1/2" of rock salt on my sidewalk and driveway. This should at least get me thru the night. The corner hardware store is out of rock salt so I'm heading over to Home Depot with my cousin and his trailer. I plan on being ready with another 1/2" of rock salt in the morning. The Doppler isn't looking so good.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 2:08 a.m.

Ann Arbor as of 9pm has dumped more snow on Maple (dry) than they normally do in a season.Its all ending up on the center line!


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 3:48 a.m.

Meant to say more salt! They were dumping salt on the dry road with 90% of it ending up on the center line!


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 1:13 a.m.

This sounds like a good plan from the Road Commission. Glad to hear it, even if we don't get much snow or ice they will be ready for it and out on the freeways where people need to get to work.

Terry Star21

Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 11:31 p.m.

Amy......seriously, this is a fantastic idea ! Sorry about the skepticism on the total snow amount by myself and others.....maybe we've been around here too long.....

Amy Biolchini

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 3:34 p.m.

This was a great experience and I really appreciate the opportunity granted by the Washtenaw County Road Commission. While it's true that the total snow amount didn't live up to the forecast, there were some valuable lessons I learned from the ride-along.


Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 11:27 p.m.

"A major winter storm is expected to impact the Northeast and New England Friday into Saturday. As much as one to two feet of snow is forecast from the New York City metro area to Maine, with localized heavier amounts possible. This, in addition to wind gusts as high as 60-75 mph will create significant impacts to transportation and power. Coastal flooding is also possible from Boston northward." NOAA for East Coast. I'll take our weather, thank you - I can deal with a possible 2 to 4 inches of snow and gentle gusts.

Macabre Sunset

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 3:44 p.m.

Yes, they get a couple of those every year. What's amazing is that they can get the roads clear from 20 inches faster than we can from four inches. They are prepared for this.


Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 11:22 p.m.

Though I did buy some food at Hillers last night, our storm will be mild. We have been more concerned about relatives in the Boston area. What would you rather have 2-4 inches, as we expect or 18-24 inches (aka 1 1/2 to 2 feet) of snow. Yes, our storm can mess up the morning "commute," but I doubt we'll still be digging out of it a day later.

Kyle Mattson

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 2:12 p.m.

The best reply to that I've got right now MjC is...YOLO. :) And sorry, my sister is recently married (which is why is is now living there).


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 1:40 p.m.

@Kyle - be careful what you wish for. The type of snow storm coming down in Boston is not something you want to experience. By the way my son lives in Cambridge... he's single, how about your sister? ;-)

Kyle Mattson

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 3:23 a.m.

Honestly, I'd love to experience a massive snow like that just to see it. My sister lives in Cambridge and I'm quite jealous of the photograph's she'll be taking the next few days.


Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 10:46 p.m.

I sure hope they remember newpot road this time.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 12:56 p.m.

Think you mean Newport. Would be nice it they ever got the hills up Brooks and into Robin, Vesper and Minglewood. Oh well....

Terry Star21

Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 11:27 p.m.

What'a smokin' there Bill ?


Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 10:24 p.m.

I'll be live tweeting this while driving to work #a2roads #multitasking

Bertha Venation

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 3:06 p.m.

Don't forget to do that dictation, drink your coffee, shave, eat your McMuffin and clean off your tie while you're at it. LOL!


Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 10:16 p.m.

oh no 3 to 4 inches,whatever will we do?I might not be able to get out of my house for weeks


Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 10:13 p.m.

Now that is real journalism ! Take lotsa pix of the local idiot drivers along the way.. Might also want to tablet down when you guys are "plowing out" near Tim Hortons. Just kidding.. Stay safe and good luck !


Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 9:58 p.m.

Good to read that the Road Commission has plans to have their day shift starting at 4:30am for this predicted storm of sleet & snow. This makes much more sense than when the last storm came thru (about a week or so ago) and the Road Commission had their salt trucks/plows begin their shift at 7am.

David Cahill

Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 9:56 p.m.

This ride-along is a nice idea!

Amy Biolchini

Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 9:45 p.m.

Use the hashtag #a2roads tomorrow morning to have your tweets about road conditions and the weather in Washtenaw County to appear in the live feed. I'll be on the ride-along from 5 a.m. to 8 a.m.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 10:40 a.m.

In Saline, barely 2 inches.

Terry Star21

Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 11:26 p.m.

The latest line from Vegas says 1.6 - 2.2 inches for this blizzard - we'll see.............


Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 10:24 p.m.

Hopefully you do not get in one that flips over.


Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 8:58 p.m.

Meteorologist Mark Torregrossa, who's doing storm updates on the main page, is only projecting about 2" for Ann Arbor. The storm could track further south than expected, but given the way winter storm warnings have fizzled in recent years, I'm inclined to believe 1-2" is more likely than 4-5".

Terry Star21

Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 11:24 p.m.

zeeba - you are right on ! Looks like you, like me, have been around a long time and seen it all !


Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 8:39 p.m.

Is this the WCRC's way to make themselves look better, and is this's way to get more website hits? Stay tuned...


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 1:50 p.m.

OH SNAP @Amy Biolchini Good one!


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 2:07 a.m.

Squirrel I was not implying that. But I do. Don't knock it if ya ain't tried it!

Terry Star21

Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 11:23 p.m.

Amy.....I'll keep a lookout for you as you guys plow the dusting of snow.......


Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 9:54 p.m.

As Count Scary once said , "Oooh dats scarrrry!"


Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 9:47 p.m.

I find these updates, polls etc. very helpful. It gives me a sense of the true conditions on the roads and in the community. Thank you so much for providing this-- I imagine it can be a lot if work.


Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 9:41 p.m.

jcj: Are you implying that you eat squirrels? That is alternately amusing and creepy

Cindy Heflin

Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 9:14 p.m.

Readers have been very interested in road conditions lately. We thought this would be an opportunity to provide some insight into how the roads get cleared.


Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 9:12 p.m.

Squirrel If this does not interest you go to the food section!


Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 8:51 p.m.

I've gotta see this! My phone is on and receiving all communications.

Amy Biolchini

Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 8:44 p.m.

I'll be sure to live tweet as we run you over in the snow plow tomorrow. Stay tuned.


Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 8:39 p.m.

Thanks for the heads up! I starting to freak out about the big storm of 2013. Just got back from krogers-- stocked up for a long week. Looked like I wasn't the only one doing this. I'll be checking regularly for updates. Let's pray and keep our fingers crossed we don't get hit too hard.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 3:53 p.m.

Being home has been a luxury experience for me since I was forced to work somewhere else. Thanks Lord, I arrived home safely last night before the snow staring.

Terry Star21

Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 11:21 p.m.

This is a joke ! Wish I had a nickel (yes) for every heavy snow forecast in last ten years that missed Ann Arbor. Seven warnings in 2011/12 winter, yet only four snowfalls of two inches or less ! This year, four warnings and just about the same......I'll pass on this warning, going up on the roof and catch some rays.....


Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 10:37 p.m.

Haven't you people been listening to the news?? What's wrong with you?? Too bad for you when you cry for help and no one can get to you because of the snow? Good luck!!!!


Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 10:33 p.m.

Sue, I couldn't agree is a joke right?


Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 10:18 p.m.

Seriously? Is this a joke? We live in Michigan and the following reader's comment is in agreement with me..."OUR" meteorologist is predicting 2-3. Let's now get overwrought by a little winter weather, please!