- Associated Press - Sunday, February 1, 2015

DETROIT (AP) - A winter storm dropped as much as a foot of snow Sunday as it passed over Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, snarling traffic, stranding thousands of air travelers and extending the weekend for children at hundreds of public and private schools.

The storm made driving slow and dangerous throughout the region. Communities across the state declared snow emergencies.

“We strongly encourage avoiding unnecessary travel during this snowstorm,” state police Capt. Chris A. Kelenske said in a statement. “Minimizing the number of vehicles on the roads will also help snowplows clear roads quicker and safer.”

At least 367 departing flights were canceled and many more were delayed Sunday at Detroit Metropolitan Airport. There were least 10 canceled departures at Gerald Ford International Airport near Grand Rapids.

The National Weather Service reported 1 foot of new snow was on the ground by Sunday evening in Schoolcraft, south of Kalamazoo. There was 9 inches in parts of Jackson County and 8.5 inches in Wayne County’s Brownstown Township, the weather service said.

Forecasts called for up to 14 inches by the time the storm ended Monday. Afterward, the weather service said temperatures were expected plunge below zero in some parts of southern Michigan.

At least 143 southern and western Michigan school districts announced Sunday that they were canceling Monday’s classes. The closings included most districts in metropolitan Detroit, including the Detroit Public Schools. The University of Michigan, UM-Flint, UM-Dearborn, Mott Community College in Flint, Western Michigan University and Kalamazoo College also called off Monday classes.

Bloomfield Hills schools Superintendent Rob Glass said he was disappointed at having to call off classes but said there was little choice because “it’s really coming down.”

“I wanted to do it one time - make it through the year without a snow day,” Glass told The Detroit News. “I thought we were going to do it. It’s fun for students, but it’s disruptive for school.”

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