GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Slippery road conditions and reduced visibility due to blowing snow as a winter storm moved through West Michigan Wednesday led to crashes, including at least one that was deadly.
Just after 3:30 p.m., emergency crews were sent to southbound US-131 at Post Drive (exit 95) for a multi-vehicle crash.
Michigan State Police said that the southbound highway is shut down. Drivers are advised to take an alternate route.
It is unknown how many vehicles were involved.
State police said that there have been no injuries reported.
Police are reminding drivers to clear off their tail lights, turn on their headlights and slow down.
Police are investigating a deadly crash that happened just before 2 p.m. Wednesday near the intersection of Wilson Street and Drakewood Lane SW in Walker, dispatchers say. Details remain limited. Authorities have not yet said how many people were killed or injured, nor have they identified any victims.
Emergency crews have blocked Wilson Ave. SW from O’Brein Road to Hall Street SW in Walker. Police warn drivers to find alternate routes.
Early Wednesday afternoon, Michigan State Police said they were responding to a multi-vehicle crash on northbound US-131 at 100th Street. MSP said a semi-truck jackknifed under the 100th Street overpass while trying to slow for a crash ahead. That jackknife caused a chain reaction and 12 and 14 other vehicles crashed or slid off the road.
Multiple people were injured; most of those injuries were minor, but one was serious, authorities said.
The northbound lanes of the highway were closed for about three hours while emergency responders were on the scene.
As of mid-afternoon, Muskegon County Emergency Manager Rich Warner said it had been a fairly smooth day, with no major crashes to report and no widespread power outages.
Leo Evans with the City of Muskegon said drifting snow caused a road closure on Beach Street from the water filtration plant to just south of Beachwood Park. Crews will be rotating around the clock to be prepared for any other closures.
Ottawa County Emergency Manager Louis Hunt said there were no significant issues as of mid-afternoon, but roadways were clearly poor and there had been several crashes. There have been a few power outages, but nothing widespread. Hunt advised drivers to stay off the roads.
STAY SAFE ON THE ROAD
The NWS advises drivers to plan on slippery road conditions and areas of blowing snow that could significantly reduce visibility.
Jerry Byrne with the Kent County Road Commission told News 8 Wednesday that the morning commute should be smooth but that he expected conditions to deteriorate throughout the day.
“With the intensity and the wind gusts that they are talking about, it’s going to be rough once it starts. People just need to be prepared to take extra time,” Byrne said. “It’s going to deteriorate very quickly.”
Those who venture out are reminded to turn on their headlights, clear all snow and ice from their vehicles and use caution. As temperatures drop, salt is less effective at melting snow.
Drivers can track the progress of the MDOT snowplows from the safety of home before hitting the road. Some plows are also equipped with cameras, allowing travelers to see the streets as they are cleared. The map is visible on the Mi Drive website.
The wintry weather could impact flights at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport. Passengers can check real-time flight information online before heading to the airport.