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Metro Detroit Breaks Seasonal Snowfall Record Set In 1880s

April 15, 2014

By Robert Allen, Detroit Free Press

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Metro Detroit surpassed the snowiest winter on record this morning, reaching 94.8 inches, breaking the record of 93.6 inches set in 1880-81, according to the National Weather Service.

Overnight snowfall also pushed Flint to its snowiest winter on record, as Monday`s temperatures nosedived from summery warmth.

The gauge at Detroit Metropolitan Airport recorded 3.1 inches by about 7 a.m., bringing the total to more than an inch over the record.

As the snow clears, temperatures today are expected to be in the mid- to upper-30s.

Flint`s snow total is 83.6 inches, breaking the previous record of 82.9 inches set in winter 1974-75.

Never mind that winter officially ended more than three weeks ago; the snow year runs through June 30, according to the National Weather Service office in White Lake Township.

The snow comes on the heels of a damaging cold front that brought down trees and power lines Monday, cutting off electricity to people across Michigan. That compounded problems from severe storms that hit through the weekend.

By Tuesday morning, 28,000 DTE Energy customers were still without service, 15,000 of them in Oakland County. The company brought in crews from Ohio, Indiana and Wisconsin to help restore power after the weekend storms and 60 m.p.h .winds Monday.

But impacts of this legendary winter will persist beyond the restoration of power services.

"Our roads were already deteriorating from decades of inadequate funding, but this hastened the deterioration," Oakland County Road Commission spokesman Craig Bryson said.

Vicious potholes created from winter conditions were fixed with temporary patches that can`t be replaced until hot asphalt is available in the warmer months.

"The (temporary) material is the best you can get for patching during the colder months, but you`re putting material down into a hole that a lot of times has moisture," he said. "They`re not going to last. It`s a Band-Aid approach."

He said trucks spreading salt today morning would start laying those temporary patches later in the day. This snow year, the county used 100,000 tons of salt before the latest storm; the average is 63,000 tons.

But the record-breaking season didn`t just wear on the roads -- it strained the workers, who have worked most weekends since Christmas.

"It`s been brutal," Bryson said. "Those are all time they are not spending with their family. They need time to recoup."

He said about 35,000 hours of overtime was paid for the road workers through the season.

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(c)2014 the Detroit Free Press, Distributed by MCT Information Services

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Story image: Pedestrians walk in the street during a snow storm in Detroit, Wednesday, March 12, 2014. AP Photo/Paul Sancya

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