Winter safety tips: How to prepare as dangerous pre-Christmas storm approaches Michigan

Storm could bring dangerous cold, power outages

From plowing the roads to ensuring warming centers are up and running, the City of Detroit is rushing to prepare for what's coming.

Officials are recommending Michigan residents take steps to prepare themselves and their homes as a pre-Christmas winter storm approaches.

The storm is expected to begin with rain on Thursday. The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for all of Metro Detroit starting late Thursday and going through Saturday afternoon.

The 4Warn Weather Team is tracking the potential for dangerous cold, winds capable of power outages and considerable snow in parts of the area.

Read: Dangerous winter storm starts with rain Thursday before snow, wind, cold hit early Friday in SE Michigan

Michigan State Police are encouraging residents to be flexible with travel plans and take steps to prepare themselves for the storm and keep themselves safe.

Travel is expected to be dangerous across the state Thursday through Saturday. The NWS said there is potential for blizzard conditions in the Upper Peninsula starting Thursday and in the Lower Peninsula starting on Friday.

Blizzard conditions are expected to last through Saturday with wind gusts between 40-50 mph and gusts over 60 mph possible at times Friday into Saturday.

Michigan State Police suggests residents have a supply of essential items ready to use during emergencies such as a power outage or being stranded in a vehicle. The supplies should be kept at home, at work and in vehicles.

“Winter weather can be highly unpredictable, and we encourage residents to start their travel early, if possible, or delay if plans are flexible,” Capt. Kevin Sweeney, Deputy State Director of Emergency Management and commander of the MSP’s Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division said. “The most important thing residents can do to stay safe during extreme weather is to be ready ahead of time by equipping their homes and vehicles with basic emergency preparedness items and developing an emergency plan.”

Read: Winter storm watch in Metro Detroit may get upgraded: Here’s what blizzard, winter storm warnings mean

Winter preparedness tips for your home

Michigan State Police shared the following winter preparedness tips for your home:

  • 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.

To view the Spanish version of the fact sheet above, click here.

Winter travel tips

Michigan State Police shared the following winter travel tips:

  • Carry an emergency supply kit in your vehicle with essential items such as salt, sand, a shovel, food and blankets.
  • Ensure your car has the proper mix of antifreeze and water in the cooling system and that windshield washing fluid is topped off.
  • Keep tires at the car manufacturer’s recommended pressure and routinely check tire pressure during cold weather.
  • Keep the fuel tank near full to prevent freezing of the fuel line.
  • When traveling, let someone know your destination, route and expected arrival time.

Drivers should check travel conditions and weather reports before getting on the road.

Major road closures can be found by clicking here. More resources can be found online here.

Michigan State Police suggest watching local news for updates instead of calling your MSP post or 911 for travel conditions.

Read more: Winter travel tips: How to get vehicle unstuck from snow, list of emergency supplies to take with you

About the Author:

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.