MID-MICHIGAN (WJRT) (1/10/2020) - With a potentially historic ice and snow storm bearing down on Mid-Michigan, emergency management officials are urging the public to prepare themselves in advance.
Weather forecasts are calling for more than a half-inch of ice in the southern part of Mid-Michigan and 6 to 11 inches of snow in the northern part of the region.
Rainfall will begin around Mid-Michigan on Friday evening and change over to frozen precipitation on Saturday morning. Freezing rain, sleet and snow are likely through Sunday morning.
Police and emergency management agencies offered several steps the public can take Friday before the brunt of the storm hits on Saturday.
Before the storm
-- Make sure cell phones and other battery powered devices are fully charged.
-- Pay close attention to weather advisories and warnings on TV.
-- Make sure vehicles have a full tank of gas.
-- Prepare an emergency kit with basic supplies like non-perishable food, bottled water, a flashlight, battery operated radio and extra batteries.
During the storm
-- Pay attention to branches and power lines outside. They may be weighed down and susceptible to breaking.
-- Keep pets inside. Freezing rain and heavy snow can cause hypothermia and frostbite.
-- Stay at least 25 feet away from any downed power lines and anything they are touching. Consider any downed line to be energized even if it isn't sparking or arcing.
-- Stay home. Driving on icy roads is very treacherous and can impede the progress of road crews working to treat road surfaces. Stay with a vehicle if when stranded along the road. Remember any traffic lights that are out must be treated as a four-way stop.
-- Check on elderly or vulnerable neighbors.
-- Stuff towels and rags underneath doors to keep the heat in and stop drafts.
During a power outage
-- Dress warmly and wear layers indoors.
-- Turn off or unplug electronics and appliances to avoid a power surge when electricity is restored. Leave only one light on to tell when power comes back on.
-- Avoid operating generators, grills or any gas-powered heaters indoors because they can cause a buildup of carbon monoxide.
-- Avoid opening freezers and refrigerators unless absolutely necessary. A full freezer will keep food frozen for 24 to 36 hours if left closed.
-- Use flashlights rather than candles to provide light. If candles are absolutely necessary, use proper holders and keep them away from children.