The first major snowstorm of the season is causing problems across Michigan as residents return to work after the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. M-DOT shows the travel speeds are significantly reduced on I-94 from Kalamazoo, to Battle Creek and Jackson and the same with I-69 north toward Lansing and south to the Indiana border. A jack-knifed semi was reported at I-94 & US 131 near Kalamazoo earlier, but has since been cleared. Other main and secondary roads are dangerous at this time as plows try to get to as many areas as they can. Along with heavy wet snow, visibility is being affected as strong winds up to 40 mph are associated with this storm system. If you don’t need to travel today, it is recommended to stay off the roads.

The heavy wet snow on tree limbs and power lines are also a concern which is leading to fallen limbs, blocking roadways and leave people in the dark today. Currently, over 2,500 scattered outages have been reported in areas of Calhoun County according to Consumer’s Energy. The cause of those outages is unknown at this time. The biggest outage is in an area surrounding the intersection of Beadle Lake Road and Columbia Avenue, with almost 1,000 without power there. 300 are without power in the Harper Creek area, east of Binder Park Zoo.  150 were affected in an area west of Capital Avenue, just north of I-94. Another 100 are without power in an area along and south N Drive North, east of Battle Creek. In the Marshall & Tekonsha areas, there were another 200 outages. In Kalamazoo County and surrounding areas, over 3,500 power outages are reported. There is no estimated time for restoration on any of power outages in Southwest Michigan as crews will be dispatched and more outages are expected.

Numerous flights in and out of the Kalamazoo-Battle Creek International airport have also been canceled. Several schools and organizations have closed for today. The National Weather Service says heavy snow is expected to continue all morning before tapering off this afternoon.

Regionally, a Blizzard warning remains in effect from northeast Missouri into southeast Wisconsin and northeast Illinois, including the greater Chicago area. Up to additional snow is expected in those areas seeing the worst of the storm with wind gusts of up to 50mph. In other areas of Michigan, winter storm warnings are in effect. The heaviest winter weather is affecting the Saginaw, Flint and Thumb-region of the state.