Polar Vortex Grips Metro Detroit; -30 Below Wind Chill Due Tonight

January 06, 2014, 6:19 AM

A dangerous wave of Arctic air descended on windswept metro Detroit overnight, ushering in a day that is likely to become the coldest in southeast Michigan in two decades.

With winds gusting to 30 m.p.h., it felt like -2 at dawn in Detroit Monday, and temperatures were forecast to plummet throughout the day, with wind chills Monday night forecast for -34, according to the National Weather Service.

The high Tuesday is expected to be 0, only the seventh time in the history of record-keeping that the temperature has failed to reach 1.

The frigid air follows a storm that dropped 8 to 14 inches of snow across the region between late Saturday and early Monday, making travel hazardous.

Michigan State Police reported 34 accidents across metro Detroit between midnight Monday and 6:30 a.m., and said the number would have been much higher but few cars had ventured out on the snow-clogged roads. Cars littered icy exit ramps on freeways. 

A Facebook user reported three snowmobiles roaring up Cass Avenue in Detroit around 6 a.m.

More than 850 schools are closed, and Wayne State University, Michigan State University, the University of Michigan-Dearborn and the University of Detroit Mercy canceled classes. Court officials postponed a hearing in the Detroit bankruptcy case.

Metro Airport remained open, but was filled with stranded travelers whose flights have been canceled. The storm closed some airports in the Midwest.

Gov. Rick Snyder has partially activated the state's Emergency Operations Center, which means emergency management personnel from various state agencies will work in the center, coordinating with local officials. 

Here are the coldest temperatures on record in metro Detroit:

1. -24, Dec. 24, 1872

2. -21, Jan. 21, 1984

3. -20, Jan. 19, 1994

4. -18, Jan. 18, 1976

5. -16, Feb. 9, 1934



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