Well, the weather people in West Michigan have been hyping this winter storm for nearly a week. Fact is, nearly every storm which has clobbered the Midwest west of here or clobbered the East Coast repeatedly, has ended up going around West Michigan. Oh sure, right on the lakeshore there have been multiple one- to two-foot snowfalls. But much of the prevailing lake effect bands have been running down Lake Michigan, north to south, and Allendale is located inside the "waist" of Michigan, so we just haven't gotten all that much snow. Alas, it's really been too warm, so we've got a lot of ice.
By Sunday, which started off a beautiful sunny day, the National Weather Service chimed in and issued the first Winter Storm Advisories for Tuesday night and Wednesday -- and the magic word "blizzard" popped out. And the hype machine was on. Storm forecasts of 12"-14" are now 14"-18". And on Tuesday, they moved up the warnings from 7pm to 5pm.
I don't remember where I was on US-131 coming home on Tuesday, but at 5:02pm the snow started. Before that I was just dealing with icy roads and gusty crosswinds. Mrs. Dr. Phil posted on Facebook that "5:10 pm -- home, no sign of snow all day long. 5:27 pm -- OMG! It's snowing sideways, can't see out to the road!"
Yeah, the blizzard is actually here.
Everybody's Doing It
I warned my students that if the storm followed Track A and not Track B, then I probably couldn't make it to K-zoo on Wednesday -- and with drifting might not be able to make it out of the driveway. (grin) By noon, or so, I updated my class webpages and canceled Wednesday's classes and office hours.
Grand Valley State University canceled their evening classes on Tuesday and all classes on Wednesday. Kalamazoo College closed for tomorrow, but part of their campus is on narrow streets on a hill -- I had to go there once after a snow storm, parking was impossible. And Kalamazoo Valley Community College closed early, but KVCC is just off of I-94 and is very exposed and always gets creamed by the snow.
My university? Western Michigan University did what it always does -- posted on their homepage that WMU rarely closes and here's why. They even provided a list of closures:
Weather-related WMU closings since 1999
1999, Jan. 4-5--Heavy snowfall delayed the start of spring semester.
2000, Nov. 21-22--Thanksgiving recess began Tuesday because of snow.
2006, Dec. 1--An ice storm downed trees, caused power outages.
2007, Feb. 5--Extreme cold and snow closed many Michigan colleges.
2008, Feb. 1--WMU closed due to snow.
2009, Dec. 10--Blizzard conditions closed WMU.
Funny thing, about half the time I cancel classes because the forecasts say the roads are for shit, WMU ends up agreeing with me. They've even stayed open when they should've closed and caught hell for it, then canceled classes the next day, which turned out to be not bad at all. Go figure.
Around 10pm WMU bowed to the inevitable:
So along with most of the rest of Michigan's Lower Peninsula, we'll both be having a snow day.
The bad news is that the blizzard conditions will persist to as late as 7pm. With drifting, clearing our 250-foot driveway may not be useful.
Probably need to find someone with a plow to come by once on Wednesday and once on Thursday.
Be safe, all those of you who are in either the snow dump or ice coating zones of this storm.