Deaths may be related to severe weather across metro Detroit

Published On: Jan 06 2014 10:59:29 AM EST   Updated On: Jan 06 2014 11:00:16 AM EST

The snow may not look like much, but it can be dangerous to your health if you don't take the proper precautions.


The nasty snowstorm that has blanketed Michigan may be to blame for at least three deaths in metro Detroit.

A 36-year-old Detroit man, a 56-year-old Pontiac woman and a 67-year-old man from Orion Township died of what is believed to be heart attacks related to shoveling snow.

The snow may not look like much, but it can be dangerous to your health if you don't take the proper precautions.

Researchers have reported an increase in the number of fatal heart attacks among snow shovelers after heavy snowfalls.
This rise may be due to the sudden demand that shoveling places on an individual’s heart. Snow shoveling may cause a quick increase in heart rate and blood pressure. One study determined that after only two minutes of shoveling, the heart rates of sedentary men rose to levels higher than those normally recommended during aerobic exercise.


  • People with a history of heart disease
  • People with a history of high blood pressure
  • People who smoke
  • People who lead a sedentary lifestyle


  • Avoid caffeine or nicotine before shoveling.
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Dress in layers
  • Warm your muscles before you begin shoveling
  • Bend at the knees and don't lift with your back

Remember: It's illegal in Michigan to plow snow into roadways

The Road Commission for Oakland County reminds residents and business owners that it is illegal under Michigan law to shovel or plow snow or ice onto any road or highway, or to deposit snow on a road or road shoulder in such a way that it blocks motorists’ views of traffic.

Pushing snow from a driveway or parking lot onto a road or depositing snow in a way that blocks a drivers’ "safety vision" is specifically prohibited in section 257.677(a) of the Michigan Vehicle Code. Doing so is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $100 and/or a jail sentence of up to 90 days.


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