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Snyder: Thaw and freeze a concern

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Many schools will remain closed for a third day tomorrow due to cold temperatures and sidewalks that need to be cleared. At least half a dozen deaths have been linked to the  cold temperatures. And officials continue to advise drivers to take it slow and beware of ice.

Gov. Rick Snyder says there’s still plenty of work to do to clean up from the storm.

“We’re going to continue to monitor things. There’s still roads to be cleaned up around the state,” he said. “As you go through this, hopefully the weather’s going to be warm enough – not that it’s going to be warm – but warm enough for salt to be more effective.”

But the governor says now there’s another concern headed into the weekend, when temperatures in some parts of the state could creep above freezing.

“A concern is this weekend because it could warm enough and there’s forecasted rain, for example, that could cause icy conditions, freezing, water again,” he said. “Literally, there could be concern of flooding in some cases.”

The governor joined Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero (his opponent in 2010) to greet road crews during a shift change. Lansing was the only city in Michigan to request state assistance to get through the winter storm. Bernero praised the governor for the help the state provided during the weather emergency.

Lansing, like many communities, lifted its sidewalk ordinance in an effort to discourage people from risking sub-zero temperatures to get out and shovel. But he said the city will resume enforcing the ordinance so kids can get to schools and bus stops safely when classes resume.  

“We don’t want kids walking in the street,” Bernero said. “So we talk about health and safety – not wanting people to freeze. We certainly don’t want people freezing out shoveling, but we also don’t want kids in the street. So that’s very important and we will be enforcing it.”

Bernero says there’s still plenty of work as the city digs out from the snow and cleans up downed lines and branches from an ice storm that ­preceded the Arctic vortex.

The governor says plowing and salting will continue, and more Michigan State Police troopers have been deployed in areas that have had a lot of accidents. 

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.