Road crews making progress after storm drops 6-9 inches of snow on Lenawee County

Several inches of snow blanketed Lenawee County Wednesday, leading to a second consecutive snow day for area schools on Thursday, but road maintenance officials reported good progress in clearing the pavement as of Thursday morning.

Between 6 and almost 9 inches of snow fell across the county, according to reports to the National Weather Service office near Pontiac. Higher amounts were recorded in the Irish Hills.

As the wet, heavy snow fell on Lenawee County Wednesday afternoon, the county road commission was out in full force with 30 salt trucks and four plows and got the situation under control, Jason Schnaidt, director of operations for the road commission, said.

There were many road runoffs and about 30 minor crashes with only minor injuries reported, according to the Lenawee County Sheriff’s Office.

“Things didn’t really start getting heavy until about 11 (a.m.) to 12 (p.m.) We had all our trucks out. We have 34 different routes they run,” Schnaidt said Thursday. “We finished up last night with the day crew at about 7. It quit snowing at about 5 (p.m.). We had pretty good progress for a couple of hours. The night crew was in until 7 this morning, and we started at 4 a.m. with our day crew.”

An Adrian Department of Public Works snowplow is seen in action Wednesday afternoon, Jan. 25, 2023, plowing a stretch of South Main Street near Beecher Street.
An Adrian Department of Public Works snowplow is seen in action Wednesday afternoon, Jan. 25, 2023, plowing a stretch of South Main Street near Beecher Street.

As of approximately 9:30 a.m. Thursday, there was a touch of sun popping out to help melt the snow, slush and ice and the road commission had things under control. They would be done plowing in approximately two hours.

The snow started falling in earnest at about noon and picked up at 1 p.m. The snow was its heaviest between 1 and 3 p.m., and that’s when the county’s 911 dispatch crew was the busiest. It was all hands on deck for dispatch with some additional dispatchers on board.

Lenawee County Sheriff Troy Bevier and emergency manager Craig Tanis issued a travel advisory because the 911 dispatch center was getting inundated with phone calls — mostly road runoffs, Bevier said Thursday morning.

“I was monitoring the calls for service and how many deputies we had on the road, and at one point we had 10 deputies out on the road and a lieutenant and a captain out assisting them with runs,” Bevier said. “I believe that we had quite a few crashes in the area of West Carleton Road. I’m not sure exactly why.”

Bevier added that once a road patrol deputy arrives on scene for one crash and flashes the patrol vehicle's lights, other drivers hit their brakes, slide and cause more crashes. Also, the dispatch center often receives multiple calls on the same crash, so the number of crashes reported can be fuzzy until the final reports are in.

“We definitely kept the tow truck companies busy yesterday (Wednesday) with the storm, and I checked last night and by the end of our platoon around 6 o’clock, most primary roads were doing pretty well. The secondary roads were still pretty slushy and snow covered and many of the subdivisions and the backroads were not even touched yet. So they were difficult to get down,” Bevier said.

Troy Rohrbach, superintendent of the Tecumseh Department of Public Works said things ran smoothly for his crew, which worked 16 hours Wednesday.

“Things went good here in the city of Tecumseh. We put down 65 tons of salt. We only had one minor fender bender. That’s it. Everything went real well. This morning, things looked pretty good here. We’re out doing some minor cleanup today,” Rohrbach said. “We had three salt trucks out, two tail trucks out, and we had a pickup and a skid steer in our downtown parking lots.”

Schnaidt, Bevier and Rohrbach said their crews are ready for whatever comes next. Weather reports indicate that it is supposed to snow on and off until next Tuesday. Freezing rain will be settling in Saturday evening with it switching over to snow Saturday night into Sunday. Approximately 1 to 2 inches of snow is expected.

“It looks like they’re (the snow and freezing rain) coming overnight and they’re coming into the weekend, which helps us out a little bit," Bevier said. "The Friday night snow and the traffic on Saturday morning is not as heavy, and from what I see we’re going to get some pretty measurable snow Saturday night into Sunday, which again traffic will be lighter. So we’re not anticipating quite as many vehicles out on the roadway. That will give the road commission some time to clean up the area roads."

Daily Telegram news editor David Panian contributed to this report.

This article originally appeared on The Daily Telegram: Storm drops 6-9 inches of snow on Lenawee County