Bitter sub-zero cold returns to Michigan, brings record-breaking low temperatures


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Ice crystals form frost on a window in Detroit, Monday, Feb. 23, 2015, as temperatures have fallen well below zero across most of the state. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

FLINT, Michigan — Michigan's deep freeze closed schools up and down the state Monday, breaking water mains in the Detroit area and setting records for low temperatures that plunged well below zero.

The Detroit water department was pumping water from a break in a 16-inch pipe, which flooded a building at a wastewater treatment plant but didn't affect customers. In Eastpointe, a suburb, Kelly Road was a mess after a pipe burst, cutting off water service to residents living in a square mile near the rupture.

"It's nothing but water and ice out here," said Eastpointe public works director Tony Pry.

The temperature in the Saginaw, Bay City and Midland area was 10 below zero early Monday, shattering the record of minus 2. Other places breaking records were Grand Rapids at 8 below and Traverse City at minus 16.

At minus 10, Flint was far from the state's cold spot. The reading fell to minus 26 at Cadillac in the northern Lower Peninsula and minus 21 at Gwinn in central upper Michigan. Detroit checked in at minus 2, about 6 degrees warmer than its recorded low set in 1889.

"It's going to be cold through the rest of the week, but we might get up into the 30s on Saturday and Sunday," said Rachel Kulik of the National Weather Service.

The prospect of a modest warming later in the week led Flint officials to cancel an advisory that residents leave water running to prevent costly ice damage to plumbing.

"Now that the weather forecast for Flint is calling for an end to double digit, below zero temperatures, the risk to indoor plumbing has been abated enough to end the precautionary measure," city spokesman John Lorencz said in a statement.

Many schools canceled classes again because of the cold and strong winds. In the Upper Peninsula, the Alger-Marquette regional spelling bee was moved to Tuesday. Organizers said that day won't change no matter the weather.

Recent school closings have had an effect on blood donations. When school is closed, a blood drive is canceled, too.

Rachelle Treymann of Grand Rapids-based Michigan Blood said about 500 pints weren't donated last week.

"We are reaching out to donors in any way that we can at this point. ... We expect the snow to pose a challenge, but the temperatures have never impacted us like this," said Treymann, Michigan Blood's manager of donor recruitment.

Ironically, the cold weather likely will prevent lake-effect snow from forming off Lake Superior because 90 percent of the lake is covered with ice, said Justin Titus of the National Weather Service.

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