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Posted on Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 8:35 a.m.

Slick roads cause crashes, spin-outs on Ann Arbor-area roads

By Cindy Heflin

An overnight snowfall caused slippery roads that sent motorists sliding and crashing on Washtenaw County roads this morning.

At 8:30 a.m., police were working to clear crashes or spin-outs at eastbound I-94 and Jackson Road and eastbound I-94 at Kalmbach Road. Neither was blocking traffic.

Several crashes reported earlier had been cleared from the freeways, a dispatcher with the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office said. None of the crashes was believed to have caused injuries.

Snowfall accumulation in Ann Arbor amounted to 3.5 inches as recorded at the weather station on the University of Michigan's North Campus, said meteorologist Amos Dodson with the National Weather Service in White Lake Township.

Snow totals varied widely throughout the metro Detroit area. Howell recorded 6.2 inches, while at Detroit Metro Airport the total was .6 inches.

Crews were out overnight salting roads, Ann Arbor City Administrator Steve Powers said in a city e-mail sent out this morning. But it wasn't enough to keep slick conditions from developing. "During the night, the third squall that went through the area between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. was heavy enough that the pavement temperatures and salt already down on the roads were not able to melt the snow as fast as it was accumulating," he wrote in the e-mail.

This morning, crews applied sand to some areas, including hills where better traction was needed. "The major streets have all been treated with salt twice and the state trunk lines (Washtenaw, Jackson and North Main) and some of the other majors have had a third treatment," Powers wrote in the e-mail sent shortly before 9 a.m. today.

The snow is over for the rest of today. Skies are expected to gradually clear today. Temperatures will climb to about 39 degrees. Skies will be clear overnight with lows dipping into the high teens.

Snow could return Thursday night. It will be partly sunny Thursday afternoon, but skies will cloud over during the evening and there's a 50 percent chance of snow.

For updated forecasts and conditions anytime, visit's weather page.



Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 4:29 p.m.

At 9am a 4wd pickup was being towed off the median at Eastbound M14 between the 23 splits. In years past it has seemed that 4x4 pickups and SUV's make up a disproportionally high percentage of the vehicles going off highway in bad weather. Just remember that having a 4x4 doesn't change physics! It can help you go, but it doesn't help you stop, and won't make you immune to spinning out!


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 7:45 p.m.

Agreed! My wife has all wheel drive and it is great. But everything has it's limits on ice.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 7:34 p.m.

I will take any vehicle - FWD, RWD, AWD or 4WD - as long as it is properly equipped with winter tires. We live in Michigan where snow is a normal occurrence, and should thus properly equip our cars or stay home. However, I agree with you that my favorite is AWD with winter tires


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 4:58 p.m.

They don't make you invincible but I will take a 4x4 over a 4x2 any day. But yes you still have to drive as if your IQ is above 50.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 4:10 p.m.

Everything I read yesterday said road crews thought the snow wouldn't stick to roadways because they thought the recent warm weather kept them warm. Guess they kind of miscalculated on that one.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 4:04 p.m.

Really nasty ice on the roads this morning...especially US-23 North then I-96 West. I guess it's not too shocking that they weren't prepped well.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 3:13 p.m.

On my drive to work across I-94 into Detroit this morning, there were some awful black ice patches where I only narrowly avoided a serious collision. Hopefully the state will be more proactive in anticipating these storms the night before and have highway crews out in advance so all of us can drive to work safely in the morning.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 2:41 p.m.

Rain, then freezing rain and snow, created road conditions that were slippery. The city of Ann Arbor should have put some salt on the roads early this morning.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 2:27 p.m.

At 9:30 am there are spots in Ann Arbor that are nothing but ice. Especially bad on hills and at traffic lights. 2d lowest unemployment rate in the state, but we can't afford to put a little sand or salt down at a few intersections. It would be too bad if everyone on city council had a fender bender this morning!