Be Prepared and Safe During Extreme Cold

Contact: Dale R. George, MSP/EMHSD Public Information Officer, 517-284-3962

January 17, 2019

With frigid temperatures expected to impact the entire state beginning this weekend, the Michigan State Police (MSP) is encouraging residents and visitors to be extra cautious when going out in the extreme cold.

"Extremely cold temperatures can be hazardous and potentially life-threatening," said Capt. Emmitt McGowan, deputy state director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and commander of the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP/EMHSD). "We are asking that Michiganders monitor their local weather reports and follow the appropriate steps to stay safe during this cold spell."

The National Weather Service is forecasting wind chills to cause temperatures to fall below zero at times Saturday night through Monday morning in the Lower Peninsula. Parts of the Upper Peninsula will experience below zero overnight temperatures through next weekend. Exposure to these temperatures could potentially cause frostbite and hypothermia, as well as create hazardous driving conditions.

To stay safe during cold weather:

  • Stay indoors if possible. If you must go outside, wear protective gear, such as hats, mittens, gloves, scarf and a warm coat.
  • Avoid overexertion when shoveling heavy snow, pushing a car, or walking in deep snow. Take breaks frequently.
  • 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.
  • Weatherproof 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.
  • 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, and a cell phone charger in your kit.

Michigan weather is unpredictable any time of year, but especially during the winter months. If you are stranded, do not leave your vehicle. Stay with the vehicle and wait for help.

Motorists are encouraged to check travel conditions and weather reports before driving at www.michigan.gov/roadconditions. Major road closures can be found at www.michigan.gov/drive. The MSP/EMHSD asks that you tune into local news and/or view these websites rather than calling your local MSP post or 911 for travel conditions.

Residents who need assistance or guidance during the extreme cold are encouraged to call 211.

For more information on how to prepare before, during and after an emergency or disaster, visit www.michigan.gov/miready or follow MSP/EMHSD on Twitter at @MichEMHS.