Imagine being a Detroit Lions fan who has endured a lifetime of frustration and ineptitude only to potentially miss out on the team's first post-season game at Ford Field due to treacherous winter weather. That's the situation facing many fans in extreme West and Southwest Michigan.

The weather has impacted the Wild Card Weekend of the 2024 NFL playoffs from extreme cold in Kansas City and a postponement due to snow in Buffalo.

But with Detroit being an indoor stadium there was no reason not to play the Sunday nighter that sees former quarterback Matthew Stafford return to Detroit. But for fans across the state, getting to the game was not so simple.

After a mid-month winter storm dumped more than a foot of snow - a one-two punch of strong system snow following but an onslaught of lake effect - some roads east from the Lake Michigan shoreline were impassable Sunday afternoon as fans began to head out towards Detroit.

lake michigan winter satellite
Photo by NASA on Unsplash

Questions like this began to be asked on social media-based road condition groups:

We’re about to head to Detroit for the lions game from St Joseph, curious if anyone has any info on 94 after Kalamazoo, I know it will be a crap show before Kalamazoo

And on Sunday afternoon, I-94 was not just a 'crap show' but impassable. The interstate was closed for several hours around Hartford after a multi-vehicle accident that included state police patrols. Drivers were forced into tricky and icy alternate routes like Red Arrow Highway.

winter roads
Photo by Harry Gillen on Unsplash

Roadways across Berrien, Van Buren and the other lakeshore counties as far inland as Kalamazoo were hazardous - particularly east-west roads as winds were drifting snow across them.

Should drivers make it past US-131, major highways were reported as clear to the east side of the state.

One Lions fan is sure to be at the game - no matter what - at least in spirit. There's a great story about a late Lions fan and bar owner from the Eastern Upper Peninsula known best as the 'Yooperman.' Though he passed before he had the chance to see his team compete in the postseason at Ford Field, his daughter bought a seat for him and she along with his cremains will be in attendance. You've got to read the full story here about the empty seat at Ford Field.

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Gallery Credit: Laura Ratliff

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