KENT COUNTY, Michigan – Continued snowfall and heavy winds make Christmas Eve a dangerous time for driving in the Grand Rapids area, officials said.
“Our message is don’t drive unless you have to,” Kent County Highway Commission officials said in a news release on Saturday morning, Dec. 24.
The daytime road crew started on schedule at 6am, replacing the nighttime crew. Crew members are working with front plows and graders in conditions like a whiteout snowstorm to get the roads reopened today, officials said.
Poor visibility persists, with zero visibility in some rural areas of Kent County. Officials said some areas have reported impassable conditions due to more than a foot of snow on the roads.
The goal of the Roads Commission on Saturday is to create “passable conditions” on these types of rural roads, especially roads running north and south, and open them up to emergency services, officials said. Medium coverage will be placed on state roads and heavily-trafficked highways that were dealt with overnight, but are still suffering from hardpack and icy conditions, officials said.
With roads in the county still frozen in solid masses, strong gusts of wind continuing and visibility limited, drivers will need to exercise extreme caution when traveling, officials said.
Based on projections, officials estimate the county will be able to fully apply the deicer on the Sunday following Monday. With the current wind chill below freezing, the blowing wind will spread the salt, dilute it and refreeze it, creating a thicker layer of ice, officials said.
More weather coverage on MLive:
Governor Whitmer activates emergency operations center in response to blizzard
The pre-Christmas blizzard is almost half complete.there is still snow here
How to spot signs of frostbite as dangerous subzero wind chill persists
Video shows multiple vehicle pileup closing US 131