SOUTHFIELD (WWJ/AP) - The first major winter storm of the season has hit Southeast Michigan. The snowfall is forecasted to continue into Thursday morning with a total four to six inches expected in metro Detroit.
The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory for southeast Michigan in effect on Wednesday until 7 a.m. Thursday.
Snow started falling late Wednesday morning, and by mid-afternoon roads were snow-covered and slippery with numerous spinout accidents reported on roads and freeways.
Traffic was crawling along area roads with blowing snow causing some hazardous driving conditions. Top speeds on I-696 was about 30 mph. Usually drivers are speeding along at 70-80. WWJ's Lance Howard said motorists were struggling to gain traction, but most accidents on major freeways Wednesday evening were minor -- many the of result of a single vehicle going too fast.
Lieutenant Mike Shaw of the Michigan State Police reminds motorist to make sure to have their window scrapers with them and clean off their cars completely as visibility in a storm such as this can be extremely limited.
Winter storm conditions around the region have affected at least 189 flights at Detroit Metropolitan Airport and forced the cancellation of at least 15. Metro Airport officials say typical flights were facing delays of 16 to 30 minutes early Thursday evening. (Check your flight status here.)
The National Weather Service reported 3.8 inches was already on the ground at the airport in Romulus on Wednesday afternoon.
AccuWeather's Dave Bowers said the storm is making its way up from Virgina on its way to New York City. He said the snow will taper off in intensity and coverage, changing to flurries after midnight.
A number of cities declared snow emergencies meaning residents had to move their cars off city streets. The emergencies were issued in Bloomfield Township, Dundee, Flat Rock, Inkster, Romulus, Royal Oak, and the city of St. Clair. Anyone who doesn't move their vehicles could be ticketed and/or have their cars towed. The snow emergencies are called so snow plows can clear city streets.
Here's the local forecast from the CBS Detroit Weather Team:
Wednesday - Snow with accumulations up to 6 in. possible. High of 32F, low of 27F with a windchill as low as 12F.
Thursday - Overcast with a chance of snow and rain showers. Winds from the NNW at 15 to 20 mph. Chance of snow 50%. High of 32F, low of 19F with a windchill as low as 16F.
Friday - Overcast, mostly cloudy. Winds from the SW at 5 to 10 mph. High of 28F, low of 23F with a windchill as low as 19F.
Check the CBS Detroit weather page for the extended forecast and up-to-the-minute information.
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(View photos here taken by WWJ Newsradio 950's Mike Campbell.)
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