The National Weather Service is forecasting snow to begin today with up to 10 inches of accumulation in parts of southern Lower Michigan by Friday night.
The snow is expected to cause low visibility and hazardous driving conditions with the possibility of impassible roads at times, especially in areas under a Winter Storm Warning (currently forecasted to include Van Buren, Kalamazoo, Calhoun and Jackson counties).
“Traveling may be extremely dangerous during periods of heavy snowfall over the next two days,” said Capt. Chris A. Kelenske, Deputy State Director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and commander of the Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP/EMHSD). “If you can stay home, we encourage you to do so. Minimizing the number of vehicles on the roads, will help snowplows clear roads quicker and safer.”
To stay safe during a winter storm:
- 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.
- Minimize travel. 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, in your kit in case you become stranded. If you do become stranded or stuck, stay inside your 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 winter storm are encouraged to call 211.