NEGAUNEE TOWNSHIP — Some of us may not like to hear it, but winter is right around the corner.

Governor Rick Snyder declared this week “Winter Hazards Awareness Week” across the state, and despite the weather not really resembling the season of perpetual bundling-up just yet, now is the time for residents to start gearing up for the cold. There are indications that this winter will be milder on average thanks to El Nino, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be very cold days or dangerous snow storms.

“Don’t think just because you lived here in the U.P. your whole life that you’re not susceptible to some of the challenges that winter weather can throw our way,” said National Weather Service Meteorologist Matt Zika. “That’s why we encourage folks to have a safety kit in their car. Now’s the time to be thinking if you haven’t put your snow tires on yet and you typically do — make that appointment and get that done. Get your ice scraper out, put it in your car, and then [pull] out all of your hats, gloves, winter coats, and things like that to make sure you’re ready to go, because the reality is, winter will be here in a short amount of time. Even though it looks like it may be relatively mild compared to normal for parts of this winter, we’ll still have plenty of cold and snow to deal with.”

People gearing up for the cold by using generators and alternate forms of heating should also make sure their units are properly ventilated and that they have functioning carbon monoxide detectors in their dwellings. Click here to find winter weather resources from the National Weather Service.