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Snow, winds make West Mich. roads dangerous

VAN BUREN COUNTY, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - The roads are so bad that the Van Buren County Sheriff's Department is warning people to avoid getting out unless absolutely necessary. In some spots tow trucks can't even get to stranded drivers.

Newschannel 3 is live right now on I-94 near Hartford after a little break in the weather, it's back to near white-out conditions. Very few drivers are braving the road after dark.

The blowing snow is causing limited visibility for drivers and this constant winter weather a headache for first responders.

It's another full day along the roadways here in West Michigan, from tow trucks to state police, all working to keep stranded drivers safe.

"Spent a lot of time on I-94 and 131, all the main highways, as well as the side roads. People just aren't going slow enough," Michigan State Police Trooper Todd Waite says.

There have been countless accidents and slide offs in the last 24 hours. Calls continue to pour in after sunset.

"Any speed can be too fast it doesn't matter if you're going on to two miles an hour," Waite says.

Troopers rush from one wreck to the next on I-94, battling brutal conditions between Paw Paw and Hartford.

"Conditions on the road are horrible, for one. They are covered in ice, snow and they're constantly changing," Waite says.

Firefighters in Douglas are roping off the office of this Haworth plant. Saugatuck Fire Chief Greg Janick says damage is "very significant, there is a lot of snow and a lot of damage."

The roof, collapsing under the weight of heavy snow, triggered a gas leak inside the empty building. A plow driver hearing the crash, then called 9-1-1.

"They're going to have to relocate their office and relocate their phone system to another part of the building. They're going to have to get a structural engineer that says it's safe to go in," Janick says.

First responders, once again, are reminding drivers to stay off the roads and to stay safe.

"Stay off the roads as much as possible. There's no reason to be out that's more important than your life," Waite says.

You can see why police are telling drivers to stay off the road. It's not only slow going, it's hard to tell who or what is in front of you on the highway. Those secondary and side streets are nearly impassible in many places.