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S-no-w school!

Blizzard frightful and delightful

Enjoying their day off from school are Oxford students Brooklyn Allen, 16, and her sister Michaela Allen, 12. The sisters went sledding at Seymour Lake Twp. Park. (click for larger version)

Plowing through the snow is Oxford resident Scott Myers. Photos by C.J. Carnacchio. (click for larger version)
December 15, 2010 - Whether you characterized the weather as frightful or delightful really depended on your point of view.

Several inches of snow coupled with strong winds and below-freezing temperatures slammed the Oxford/Addison area Sunday as Old Man Winter came roaring into town nine days ahead of schedule.

These weather conditions were seen as delightful by the 4,769 students of Oxford Community Schools whose classes were cancelled Monday and Tuesday.

However, for the 742 electrical customers in Oxford and the 661 in Addison who were without power as a result of the blizzard, the weather was definitely frightful. Those outage figures, provided by the DTE Energy website, were as of 12 noon Monday. Fortunately, by 11 a.m. Tuesday, only five customers were without power in Oxford and two in Addison.

Motorists also found the weather frightful as they slowly navigated their way across dangerous icy roads, causing lengthy backups on M-24.

"We had to have at least three-quarters to an inch of ice on the roads underneath the snow," said Oxford Village DPW Superintendent Don Brantley. "I think what screwed us up was the warm temperatures we had Saturday night (coupled) with the rain. Then it started snowing and all that wet snow just turned to pure ice when it got bitterly cold."

Brantley reported the DPW dumped 35 to 40 tons of salt between downtown parking lots, major streets and a few local streets.

"We used a little more salt than normal on major streets," he said. "We plowed the local streets, but we didn't throw salt because of the (extremely low) temperatures."

Rock salt begins to lose effectiveness at about 20 degrees. At zero degrees, it does nothing.

Between salting and snow removal, Brantley estimated the DPW put in about 14 hours worth of overtime.

"It was probably one of the worst as far as early-season storms due to the ice," he said. "I think we got about 8-9 inches of snow. If we would have had the cold temperatures minus the ice, it would have been pretty typical. The ice put a little different spin on it."

"We're just thankful it wasn't an ice storm," Brantley noted.

Despite the slippery road conditions, no serious car accidents were reported in either Oxford or Addison. It was mainly vehicles sliding into ditches or getting stuck in the snow.

All in all, with the exception of a few downed power lines in the two townships, both fire chiefs reported things were fairly quiet for their respective departments.

"We haven't had anything really major knock wood," said Addison Fire Chief Jerry Morawski.

"So far, so good," said Oxford Fire Chief Pete Scholz.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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