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State Police Urge Michiganders to Prepare for Major Winter Blast

The Michigan State Police (MSP) is encouraging residents and visitors to prepare for potential blizzard-like conditions as more than a foot of snow and high winds are forecast across much of the state. Dangerous driving conditions and power outages are expected through the weekend.

“We are closely monitoring conditions as they develop and taking action to prepare for any potential winter weather-related impacts,” said Capt. Kevin Sweeney, deputy state director of Emergency Management and commander of the MSP, Emergency     Management and Homeland Security Division (EMHSD). “Avoid travel if possible and check in on your vulnerable loved ones. Let’s all work together to keep ourselves, families, friends, and neighbors safe.”

According to the National Weather Service (NWS), conditions across the state will start to deteriorate around noon on Friday, January 12. A winter storm warning has been issued for the majority of the state including the cities of Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Mount Pleasant, Traverse City, and the entire Upper Peninsula. Snowfall totals could accumulate up to 21 inches in the U.P. and up to 18 inches across lower Michigan. Wind gusts up to 55 mph are predicted to cause dangerous blowing and drifting on the roads and power outages.

Winter preparedness tips:
    • Develop a 72-hour emergency supply kit that includes essential items like a three-day supply of food and water, a battery-powered or hand-crank weather radio, blankets, flashlights with extra batteries, and emergency contact information. 
    • Know the difference: a Winter Storm Watch means a winter storm is possible in your area; a Winter Storm Warning means a winter storm is occurring or will soon occur in your area. 
    • Identify a safe alternative heat source and supply of fuel in the event of a power outage.
    • Listen to the radio and TV for weather reports and emergency information.
    • Stay inside during winter storms.  If you must go outside, wear several layers of lightweight clothing, a hat, and gloves to prevent loss of body heat. Cover your mouth to protect your lungs. 
    • For those requiring oxygen, ensure you have a backup power source in case of long-term power outages.

Avoiding travel is advised, but if you must go out remember these tips to stay safe.

    • Check the weather before leaving for a destination. If the weather forecast looks dangerous, reschedule, or postpone the 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. Check the condition of all wiper blades and replace them when necessary. 
    • Wash your vehicle for better visibility to other drivers. Remove ice and snow from all lights, windows, and license plates before driving. 
    • Periodically check all lights and replace them 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.


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