LANSING. The Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP/EMHSD) encourages motorists to prepare in advance of severe winter weather expected to impact the Lower Peninsula this weekend.
The National Weather Service is predicting the possibility of more than a quarter-inch accumulation of freezing rain in an area spanning from Southwest Michigan to the Thumb between Saturday, Dec. 21, and Sunday, Dec. 22. These conditions may cause power outages and dangerous traveling conditions. Anyone in the path of this weather system is strongly encouraged to make alternative plans in case weather conditions disrupt daily plans.
“The protection of public health and safety is our primary concern,” said Capt. Chris A. Kelenske, Deputy State Director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and commander of the MSP/EMHSD. “We continue to monitor weather conditions and remain in contact with local emergency management personnel to provide assistance as needed.”
Winter Travel Advisories
Holiday weekend travel will be hazardous throughout the Lower Peninsula.
Motorists should take extra precautions when stopping and driving in winter weather. Remember to do all of your braking before the turn is made and take proper line of travel through the turn to reduce the potential for a skid to occur. If your vehicle begins to skid, let off the throttle and brakes and use a quick hand-over-hand steering technique to turn the front tires in the direction you want to go.
Safe winter travel tips:
· Check the weather before leaving for a destination. If the weather forecast looks dangerous, reschedule or postpone the driving trip.
· Keep tires at the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended pressure and routinely check tire pressure during cold weather.
· Keep windshield solvent at full strength and make sure the reservoir is full, and keep new wiper blades on front and rear wipers, if so equipped.
· Wash your vehicle for better visibility to other drivers, and remove ice and snow from all lights, windows and the license plate before driving.
· Periodically check all lights and replace when necessary.
· Keep an emergency preparedness kit in your vehicle (e.g., a hand-crank flashlight and radio, cell phone charger, windshield scraper, emergency contact list, blanket, “Help” signs, jumper cables, tow strap, fire extinguisher, cat litter or sand for better tire traction, shovels, flares, first aid kit, bottled water and non-perishable, high-energy foods).
Michigan weather is unpredictable any time of year, but especially during the winter months. If you are stranded in a winter storm, do not leave your vehicle. Stay with the vehicle and wait for help.
Travelers are encouraged to go to www.michigan.gov/roadconditions and www.michigan.gov/drive to check road conditions before traveling. Weather and road conditions are also available by calling the MSP Travel Hotline at 1-800-381-8477. The MSP/EMHSD asks that you view these websites or call the Travel Hotline rather than calling your local MSP post or 911.
Power Outage Safety
Ice accumulation is a serious threat to power lines. Below are some reminders on staying safe during a power outage:
· During and after a storm, stay at least 25 feet from any downed lines and assume that every line is “live” and dangerous.
· 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.
· Do not call 911 to ask about the power outage. Report outages to your utility company.
· 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, flashlight and radio with extra batteries, extra clothing and blankets).
For more information on what to do before, during and after and emergency or disaster, check out the MSP/EMHSD’s website at www.michigan.gov/emhsd or Twitter page at www.twitter.com/MichEMHS.