Use Caution During Snow and Freezing Rain

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

February 5, 2019

The Michigan State Police (MSP) is encouraging Michigan residents to use caution at home and on the roads tonight through Thursday when a forecast wintry mix of snow and freezing rain could result in hazardous travel conditions and localized power outages.

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for much of the Lower Peninsula that remains in effect from 10 p.m. tonight through 1 p.m. Wednesday. This wintry mix looks to include at least a glazing of ice for most of the area, but some locations may see enough for accumulations on trees and power lines. A second round of light freezing rain will be possible late Wednesday night into Thursday.    

“Accumulating ice and snow can cause dangerous road conditions and some downed tree limbs,” 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). “If you must travel, we ask that motorists allow extra time to get to their destinations and, if you see a downed power line, stay away from it and report it to your utility company.”

Power outage tips:

  • Stay at least 25 feet from any downed lines and assume that every line is “live” and dangerous.
  • Do not call 911 to ask about the power outage. Report outages to your utility company.
  • If clearing trees or limbs, make certain they are not in contact with a power line. Trees and branches can conduct electricity and electrocute you on contact.
  • Never run a generator indoors. Ensure it is outside – far away from windows or any other area where exhaust can vent back into a living area. Carbon monoxide can cause injury or death.
  • Have an emergency preparedness kit ready with supplies to last three days per person (e.g., food, water, first aid kit, hand-crank flashlight and radio, extra clothing and blankets).
  • Check on elderly and disabled neighbors to ensure they are safe.
  • Use battery-powered lanterns, if possible, rather than candles to light homes without electrical power. If you use candles, make sure they are in safe holders away from curtains, paper, wood or other flammable items. Never leave a candle burning when you are out of the room.
  • Dress in warm clothing and layers, keep doors shut and never use the stove or charcoal as a source of heat inside a home.

Safe winter driving tips:

  • Motorists are reminded to take extra precautions when stopping and turning. Remember to do all your braking before the turn is made and take the proper line of travel through the turn to reduce the potential for skidding. If your vehicle begins to skid, let off the throttle and brakes and turn the front tires in the direction you want to go.
  • 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 a cell phone charger, 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.
  • If you are stranded, do not leave your vehicle. Stay with the vehicle and wait for help.

The MSP reminds motorists that even during inclement weather, drivers are responsible for maintaining control of their vehicles at all times. Additionally, when drivers see a stationary emergency vehicle or tow truck pulled over with its flashing, rotating or oscillating lights on, passing motorists must move over at least one lane or two vehicle widths, if it is safe to do so. If moving over is not possible, motorists must slow down and pass with caution.

Motorists are encouraged to check travel conditions and weather reports before driving at Major road closures can be found at 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.

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