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Third Round of Extreme Cold to Impact Michigan

Contact: Ron Leix, MSP/EMHSD Public Information Officer, (517) 336-6464
Agency: State Police

Issued: Feb. 26, 2014

With a third round of arctic temperatures forecasted to impact the entire state this week, the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP/EMHSD) encourages Michigan citizens and visitors to be extra cautious when going out in the extreme cold.

“This winter has been one for the record books in terms of cold and snow,” said Capt. Chris A. Kelenske, Deputy State Director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and commander of the MSP/EMHSD. “As we deal with another round of extremely cold and potentially life-threatening temperatures, citizens and visitors are encouraged to take extra precautions. We will be working with our local emergency management partners to ensure the public’s health and safety.”

The National Weather Service is forecasting statewide temperatures to hover around 0 degrees with wind chills at 20 below or lower through Sunday.  Exposure to these temperatures could potentially cause frostbite and hypothermia, as well as create hazardous driving conditions and cause frozen pipes.

To stay safe during cold weather:

  • Stay indoors if possible. If you must go outside, wear protective gear—such as hats, mittens and gloves—in addition to a warm coat. Always protect your lungs with a scarf.
  • Watch for signs of frostbite, which include loss of feeling or pale appearance of fingers, toes or face.
  • Watch for signs of hypothermia, which include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, drowsiness and exhaustion.
  • Understand the hazards of wind chill. As wind speed increases, heat is carried away from a person's body more rapidly and could lead to severe hypothermia.
  • Remove clothing if it gets damp or wet. Wet clothing can make you more prone to hypothermia.
  • Weather-proof doors and windows to trap heat inside your home.
  • Check heating units. Poorly operating or damaged heating units can release carbon monoxide gas. Test carbon monoxide detectors for proper operation and battery life.
  • Check on family, friends and neighbors who are at risk and may need additional assistance.
  • Watch pets closely and keep them indoors when possible. Animals can suffer from hypothermia, frostbite and other cold weather injuries.
  • Check and restock your emergency preparedness kit. If you don't have a kit, make one.
  • Minimize travel. If travel is necessary, keep a full tank of gas and an emergency preparedness kit in your vehicle. Put warm clothing—such as gloves, blankets and hats—in your kit in case you become stranded.

Travelers are encouraged to go to www.michigan.gov/roadconditions and www.michigan.gov/drive to check road conditions before traveling.  Weather and road conditions are also available by calling the MSP Travel Hotline at 1-800-381-8477.  The MSP/EMHSD asks that you view these websites or call the Travel Hotline rather than calling your local MSP post or 911.

 

Preventing Frozen Pipes

Communities in both the Upper and Lower Peninsulas have reported frozen water pipes at homes and businesses due to a deep frost line and long periods of extremely cold temperatures.  To protect pipes from freezing at a home or business:

  • Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals out of the reach of children.
  • Let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe—even at a trickle—helps prevent pipes from freezing.
  • Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature during the day and night. Temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures may cause a higher heating bill, but prevents costly repairs if pipes freeze and burst. If you are going away during cold weather, leave the heat on and set to a temperature no lower than 55 degrees.

If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. Likely places for frozen pipes include against exterior walls or where the water service enters a home through the foundation.

To thaw out frozen pipes:

  • Keep the faucet open. As pipe is treated and the frozen area begins to melt, water will begin to flow. Running water through the pipe will help melt ice in the pipe.
  • Apply heat to the frozen section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials) or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. DO NOT use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove or other open flame device.
  • Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. Call a licensed plumber if the frozen area cannot be located, accessed or thawed.
  • Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze.

The public should follow guidance from local officials about frozen pipes in their community. Citizens who need assistance or guidance are encouraged to call 2-1-1.  For more information about being prepared before, during and after an emergency or disaster, go to www.michigan.gov/beprepared or follow the MSP/EMHSD on Twitter at @MichEMHS.