Detroit — Despite projections of a massive snowstorm, Metro Detroit saw little more than 6 inches.
In addition to about 6.2 inches of snow in the Metro area, there was nearly .75 inches of rain, according to National Weather Service data.
The region had been told to prepare for as much as 16 inches in some areas, but those projections were downgraded, and then downgraded further late Wednesday.
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In the end, the snowfall was about 10 inches less than the top estimate. why?
“The main one is it was such a slow transition from the rain to snow,” said Sara Schultz, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in White Lake Township. “We were expecting it to change over sooner, but it held off longer.”
Snowfall totals in Michigan:
Flint: 10 inches
Parts of Saginaw County: nearly 12 inches
laper: 9 inches
Ypsilanti, Ann Arbor, Morenci and Monroe: 6 inches
►In west and central Michigan, snowfalls were highest:
Battle Creek: 10 inches
Weather Service data shows a “chance” or “small chance” of additional snow Thursday, but as the region takes a turn toward the cold, authorities are warning drivers not to be lulled into a false sense of security from the lack of snow on the ground.
What appears to be a smooth road, they say, might be icy.
The National Weather Service says arctic air will dominate for a few days: “Daytime wind chill today in the single digits,” it says. “There is a chance of light snow today mainly from Metro Detroit and Ann Arbor southward. Accumulation potential of 1 to 3 inches right along the Ohio border, with a dusting possible up through metro Detroit.
“Wind chill tonight dips into the negative numbers for many locations. Single-digit wind chill again expected Friday.”
The cold and snowy weather didn’t suit Rezwan Uddin, the 22-year-old said as he brushed snow off his car in Hamtramck on Thursday morning.
He was preparing to go to work at a Warren grocery store and delayed his start time for an hour because of the snow.
“It’s really messy now,” he said as he cleared the car’s windows.
Uddin was in good spirits as he worked, but said he preferred last year’s dry winter to the current one.
“It was cold, but not like this,” he said. “This year is too much.”
Detroit Department of Transportation buses are running slightly behind schedule because of the snowy road conditions, Detroit Chief Operating Officer Hakim Berry said.
The city’s major streets have been cleared and plows are beginning to work on residential neighborhood streets.
SMART, the bus system for suburban Detroit, is running on time with normal service, Deputy General Manager Robert Cramer said.
“We’re actually running basically a regular day today as far as buses being on time, out on the roads,” Cramer said. “It could have been a lot worse (during the storm Wednesday) but we really had minimal disruptions, other than drivers taking it slow and steady and safe yesterday when the snow was coming down.”
Air travel into and out of Metro Airport in Romulus has been affected some on Thursday. Flightaware.com’s Misery Map shows three flight delays and 23 cancellations at Detroit Metro.
That’s the third most in America behind Chicago, with 48 cancellations, and Dallas, with 76.
Across the country, 80 flights are delayed and 284 canceled. That means the 23 cancellations at Metro Airport are 8 percent of all cancellations nationwide on Thursday.
Michigan got a glancing blow from a system affecting a long stretch of states from New Mexico to Maine, and the path of the storm stretched further from the central US into more of the South and Northeast.
It still is snowing in central Indiana and northwest Ohio, including in Toledo, where another 5 inches is expected through the Thursday.
Heavy snow was expected from the southern Rockies to northern New England, while forecasters said heavy ice buildup was likely from Texas to Pennsylvania.
Along the warmer side of the storm, strong thunderstorms capable of damaging wind gusts and tornadoes were possible Thursday in parts of Mississippi and Alabama, the Storm Prediction Center said.
Rey Hinojosa spent the morning scraping ice from the sidewalk in front of Book Suey, a cooperatively owned bookstore in Hamtramck.
It was a big task, which Hinojosa tackled with the help of another bookstore member-owner.
The bookstore is on the corner of Caniff and Jos. Campau, so it has lots of sidewalk to shovel. The rain that fell Wednesday morning created a layer of ice underneath the snow that fell Wednesday afternoon, and Hinojosa had forgotten to salt.
“I took it for granted that last night it was snowing,” he said, scraping thick ice into piles.
As of late Thursday morning, there are no freeway closures in Metro Detroit, according to the Michigan Department of Transportation’s MiDrive Map.
Craig Bryson, spokesman for the Road Commission of Oakland County, said that a lighter-than-predicted snowfall didn’t result in any fewer resources during the snowfall.
“Whether it’s four or 12 inches, that doesn’t change,” Bryson said.
But a shorter, less-intense storm means the dig-out will take less time than expected.
“If it continued to snow today, as was originally predicted, we could have been much more into a Friday, Saturday, Sunday cleanup,” Bryson said. “Now we should have the majority of the system pretty well cleaned up by end of day today. That will allow us to begin to get into subdivision streets.”
Michigan State Police warned the public against taking driving fast because the roads look relatively clear.
Lt. Mike Shaw, commander and spokesman for the state police in Metro Detroit, wrote on Twitter that “it was a little rough for some yesterday as they overestimated their driving abilities and ended up in a ditch.”
He advised drivers to go slow on their morning commute.
“Don’t let the sight of pavement fool you!” Shaw wrote. “It’s slippery out there!”
Staff Writer Charles E. Ramirez and AP contributed.