Winter Storm has been updated to Blizzard Warning

According to EUP News Meteorologist Jim Lehocky, conditions have changed in the weather models causing the upcoming winter storm to be categorized as a Blizzard Warning, especially on Friday afternoon into Saturday.

Starting around 7 pm tonight (Thursday) we can start to expect heavy snowfall through the night with winds picking up. Friday through Saturday we can expect wind gusts as high as 45 to 55 mph with total snow accumulations of one to two feet expected and higher amounts in drifts.

Temperatures will be dropping to low double-digits and combined with the high gusting winds could bring the wind chill down to -15°F.

Widespread blowing and drifting snow will result in white-out conditions and snow-covered roads causing travel to become very difficult, if not impossible, at time. North-south roads will be especially impacted by crosswinds.

Strong winds with snow-covered trees could bring down branches and cause power outages.

Residents are encouraged to stay off the roads unless it is an absolute emergency and even then, they should notify 9-1-1 of the emergency. It will just as dangerous for emergency vehicles as it is for private vehicles.

The Michigan State Police sent out an advisory to help Michigan residents plan for this so-called “once in a generation” storm.

Residents should have a supply of essential items ready in advance to use during emergencies such as a power outage or being stranded in a vehicle. These supplies should be kept at home, at work and in vehicles for use during an emergency.

“Winter weather can be highly unpredictable, and we encourage residents to start their travel early, if possible, or delay if plans are flexible,” said Capt. Kevin Sweeney, Deputy State Director of Emergency Management and commander of the MSP’s Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division. “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.”

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. 

For more information about how to stay safe during winter weather, take a look at the MDHHS Cold Health and Safety Fact Sheet. To view the Spanish version, click here

Automotive preparedness 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. 

Motorists are encouraged to check travel conditions and weather reports before driving. Major road closures can be found at www.michigan.gov/MiDrive.  Additional resources can be found at www.michigan.gov/RoadConditions. 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.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*