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Stay Safe During Lower Peninsula Winter Storm

The Michigan State Police (MSP) is encouraging residents and visitors to prepare for a mix of winter weather expected to affect the southern Lower Peninsula Wednesday, Feb. 16, through Friday, Feb. 18, that could lead to dangerous driving conditions.

The National Weather Service is forecasting heavy rain Wednesday that could lead to ice jams and possible flooding. As the rain changes over to snow Thursday, expect freezing rain, sleet and then snow. The most heavily impacted areas could see a tenth of an inch of ice, as well as 6 inches or more of sleet and snow.

"This is the second round of severe winter weather just this month for the southern part of our state and we want to thank first responders and road crews for their continued efforts to keep us safe," said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. "With multiple types of precipitation expected, every Michigander should take precautions on the road and check the forecast before they head out the door. We know how to deal with winter weather. We will get through these next few days together."

"This storm has the potential for multiple different hazards, with rain, sleet and snow in the forecast," said Col. Joe Gasper, director of the MSP. "Michiganders need to prepare for quickly-changing road conditions over the next few days and potentially dangerous conditions throughout the day Thursday."

Driving tips during heavy rain:

Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control. A foot of water will float many vehicles. Remember: Turn around, don't drown.
Do not attempt to drive through a flooded road. The depth of water is not always obvious. The roadbed may be washed out under the water, and you could be stranded or trapped.
Do not drive around a barricade. Barricades are there for your protection. Turn around and go the other way.
Be especially cautious driving at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.

Driving tips during winter weather:

Check the weather before leaving for a destination. If the weather forecast looks dangerous, reschedule or postpone the driving trip, if possible.
DO NOT crowd snowplows. Give snowplow drivers plenty of room to clear snow from the roads.
Keep tires at the vehicle manufacturer's recommended pressure and routinely check tire pressure during cold weather.
Make sure the windshield solvent reservoir is full and check the condition of all wiper blades and replace when necessary.
Wash your vehicle for better visibility to other drivers. Remove ice and snow from all lights, windows and license plate before driving.
Periodically check all lights and replace when necessary.
Keep an emergency preparedness kit in your vehicle stocked with batteries, battery powered or hand-crank radio, flashlight, windshield scraper, jumper cables, shovel, blankets, first aid kit, non-perishable food and bottled water in the event you get stranded or stuck.

For more information about how to stay safe during winter weather, take a look at the MDHHS Cold Health and Safety Fact Sheet. For more information on how to prepare before, during and after an emergency or disaster, visit or follow MSP/EMHSD on Twitter at @MichEMHS.