State prepares to help local towns respond to winter storm

MGN Graphics

State officials say they are closely monitoring conditions and are preparing to take action if local communities need help in the wake of a massive winter storm that could bring up to 15 inches of snow and wind chill nearing -40 degrees.

Gov. Rick Snyder said in a statement sent to NBC 25 that state and local authorities are actively monitoring and undergoing initial preparations regarding the dangerous winter weather conditions that have moved into Michigan. He says the state is ready to assist communities if needed.

Snyder also is urging people to stay safe and to monitor media reports for the latest weather conditions. â??The heavy snowfall and expected 20-year low subzero temperatures and high winds are creating â?? or have the potential to create â?? hazardous conditions across most of the state,â?? Snyder said. â??We want everyone to be safe. Letâ??s all pull together by taking care of ourselves and each other, which includes checking in on friends and neighbors who may need our help. Itâ??s times like this when Michiganders are at their best.

Snyder says the state is sharing information with local emergency management officials, communities, school districts, county road commissions and facilities like hospitals and nursing homes across Michigan. The Michigan State Police has added patrols and the Michigan Department of Transportation has plows out clearing highways and major streets.

Basic cold weather safety tips include:

· Minimizing travel and staying off the roads if possible. If travel is necessary, keep a full tank of gas and an emergency preparedness kit in the vehicle.

· Staying indoors if possible. If you must go outside, weather protective gear such as a hat and gloves should be worn.

· Dressing in layers and keeping dry. Removing clothing if it gets damp or wet. Wet clothing makes you more prone to hypothermia.

· Watching for signs of frostbite, which include loss of feeling or pale appearance of fingers, toes or face.

· Checking on family, friends and neighbors who are at risk and may need additional assistance.

· Watching pets closely and keeping them indoors when possible. If outside, have a warm shelter area with unfrozen water.

People who need assistance should call 211 in non-emergency situations.

For current road contiion information, call 1-800-381-8477.