Weather conditions lead to countywide slide-offs

CASS COUNTY — Due to weather conditions Wednesday, the Cass County Sheriff’s Office has been busy dealing with calls of cars sliding off the roads, according to Cass County Central Dispatch.

Early this morning, there were 15 to 20 cars reported as sliding off the road on M-51 near Indian Lake Road in Pokagon Township due to slick roads and whiteout conditions. According to dispatchers, there have been several other reported slide-offs throughout the county.

As of 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, there were no reported accidents or injuries, according to dispatchers.

Sheriff Richard Behnke released a statement Wednesday morning urging people to stay off the roads.

“Frequent whiteouts, resulting in slide-offs and stuck vehicles are causing dangerous road conditions for traveling emergency crews and road commission plows, in addition to record low wind chills and temperatures adding to life and safety concerns for motorists,” the statement read. “Please stay off the roadways and allow road agencies time to remove continuing blowing and drifting snow.”

Behnke said vehicles with low ground clearance will get stuck in drifts and block traffic. Behnke reminded residents that the frigid temperatures, currently at -14 degrees Fahrenheit, can produce frostbite in 10-15 minutes if exposed to the wind.

“It is not recommended that you travel unless absolutely necessary,” Behnke said. “Similarly, please limit communication to road clearing agencies and to our 911 dispatch center to emergency situations or complaints that need necessary attention. They are working hard to clear the roads as quickly as they can if it can be done in a safe manner.”

Cass County Emergency Management representatives have echoed the sheriff’s sentiments, advising residents to stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary.

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