Many city, county offices close as plow crews work - WNEM TV 5

Many city, county offices close as plow crews work

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SAGINAW, MI (AP) -

Many city, county and state offices in Michigan are closed as crews focus on clearing heavy snow from roadways before temperatures drop further.

There are some exceptions Monday, with Detroit reporting its offices will be open.

Crews in Detroit have been working to plow snow from streets, and as of Monday morning some major roadways were relatively clear.

City crews handle 660 miles of major roads.

The city says private contractors will clear snow from the city's 1,880 miles of residential side streets. Those streets are cleared when 6 or more inches of snow accumulates. The city says Monday is the third such time this winter season Detroit reached that mark.

Across Michigan, many government office closings are reported. They include Cass, Ionia, Ottawa and Van Buren counties.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has partially activated the state's Emergency Operations Center due to severe winter weather including heavy snow and predictions of dangerously low temperatures.

The governor's office says the partial activation Sunday night means that key emergency management personnel from essential state agencies will report to the center, bolstering coordination with local officials. They're available to respond to local request for assistance.

Many state offices are closed Monday, including those in Lansing. Snyder says that residents should heed advisories to stay off the roads if possible.

Police in suburban Detroit say heavy snow is believed to have caused the roof to collapse at a two-story building that once housed a bar.

No injuries are reported.

Police say no one was inside the former Wagon Wheel bar in Lake Orion about 7 p.m. Sunday at the time of the collapse. Officer David Presnell tells the Detroit Free Press that a nearby roadway was closed in case the rest of the building comes down.

Presnell says the building was to be renovated in the spring. About a foot of snow had fallen on the area by the time the roof collapsed.

Police in Michigan say winter weather conditions were a factor in a crash that killed a man walking on a snowy roadway.

State police say a 16-year-old driver hit 50-year-old Timothy Nixon of Hastings around 11 p.m. Saturday in Barry County's Baltimore Township, about 30 miles southeast of Grand Rapids.

Police say road conditions were slippery at the time of the crash and there was poor visibility. Nixon also was wearing dark clothing.

The death is under investigation and police are trying to determine why Nixon was in the roadway.

According to officials, at least one other death is blamed on weather in Michigan. The Huron Daily Tribune reported that 27-year-old Branden Hewitt of Owendale hit a snowdrift and struck another vehicle Saturday in Huron County's Brookfield Township.

The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor is bucking the trend across the state and staying open amid severe winter weather.

The school says in a posting on its website that campus will be open Monday. The school's Flint and Dearborn campuses are closed.

The University of Michigan Health System's hospitals and health centers in Ann Arbor also are scheduled to be open Monday along with clinics in Washtenaw, Wayne and Livingston counties.

Hundreds of schools across the state canceled Monday's classes, including Detroit Public Schools.

Michigan State University in East Lansing, Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Oakland University in suburban Detroit and Wayne State University in Detroit are among those that canceled classes. Snow and dangerous wind chill temperatures are cited in closing decisions.

A whirlpool of frigid, dense air known as a "polar vortex" is descending into much of the U.S., pummeling parts of the country with a dangerous cold that could break decades-old records.

For a big chunk of the Midwest, the subzero temperatures are following heavy snow and high winds. Officials have closed schools in cities including Chicago, St. Louis and Milwaukee and warned residents to stay indoors and avoid the frigid cold altogether.

The forecast is extreme: 32 below zero in Fargo, N.D.; minus 21 in Madison, Wis.; and 15 below zero in Minneapolis, Indianapolis and Chicago.

Wind chills could drop into the minus 50s and 60s.

It hasn't been this cold for almost two decades in many parts of the country.

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