Grand Blanc View

Residents prepare as snowstorm approaches

GENESEE COUNTY – The National Weather Service in Flint has issued a winter storm watch for Genesee, Huron, Lapeer, Shiawassee, Sanilac and Tuscola counties today through Saturday at 7 p.m.

The NWS is predicting 4-8 inches of snow for Genesee County beginning before 4 p.m., then snow, possibly mixed with rain between 4-5 p.m., turning to snow after 5pm. Patchy blowing snow before 3 p.m., then patchy blowing snow after 5 p.m.

The high temperature will be near 36 degrees. It will be breezy, with an east wind 10 to 15 mph increasing to 17 to 22 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 37 mph. The chance of precipitation is 90 percent.

Total daytime snow accumulation is expected at around 2 inches.

NWS says tonight rain and snow will turn to all snow after 1 a.m. with patchy, blowing snow after 3 a.m.

The low will be around 27 degrees and it will be windy, with an east southeast wind 22 to 25 mph becoming south southwest after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 41 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100 percent. New snow accumulation of around 2 inches.

Some schools, daycares and senior citizen centers have closed today in anticipation of inclement weather this afternoon.

Closings include: Bendle schools, Burton Glen Academy, the Burton Senior Center, Carman-Ainsworth schools, the Carman-Ainsworth Senior Center, the Forest Township Senior Center, Genesee County Free Medical Clinic, Genesys PACE, Good Shepherd Lutheran School in Burton, Grand Blanc Academy, Grand Blanc Montessori, Grand Blanc schools, Grand Blanc Senior Center, Holy Rosary school, International Academy of Flint, Kearsley schools, Powers Catholic High School, and Swartz Creek schools.

On the heels of Michigan’s first major storm of the winter, over 400 Consumers Energy and contractor crews from as far away as Colorado, New York and Alabama are preparing for the storm system expected to sweep across the state this weekend.

“We expect this storm to deliver heavy snow and winds over the next couple of days, and Consumers Energy is ready,” said Chris Laird, Consumers Energy’s vice president for electric operations. “Even as our line workers finished restoring power from this week’s first storm, we were already looking ahead and preparing to ensure we keep the lights and heat on for the people who count on us.”

The 400 crews include help from nine states and contractors who have stayed on since the last storm to prepare for the weekend, Consumers Energy said in a press release.

Laird encouraged Michiganders to continue preparing for this storm. Some tips for severe weather include:

  • Charge all electronic devices. It’s advised to have an emergency battery or charging station available for use during an outage.
  • Have an emergency kit that includes flashlights and extra batteries, water, canned food and blankets. Be prepared with enough medication, baby supplies and pet food if applicable. A battery-operated radio is also a good idea.
  • Unplug sensitive electronics like TVs, computers and printers. Turn power strips off.
  • Consumers Energy urges the public to keep important safety tips in mind:
  • Stay at least 25 feet away from downed power lines, and to report unguarded downed lines by calling 9-1-1 and Consumers Energy at 800-477-5050.
  • Never use a generator in an attached garage, basement, enclosed patio or near any air intakes. Doing so could cause a generator to produce hazardous levels of carbon monoxide, an odorless, colorless and deadly gas.
  • Consumers Energy will trim or remove trees interfering with electric restoration activities. Once safe to do so, clean-up of debris from tree trimming or removal during a storm emergency is the responsibility of individual property owners.
  • In some cases, the mast that holds the electric service wires to a home or business may have been damaged or torn away. Crews will reconnect the wires to a home, but only a licensed electrician can repair or replace a mast or a cable.
  • Consumers Energy is Michigan’s largest energy provider, providing natural gas and/or electricity to 6.7 million of the state’s 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.

The Michigan State Police (MSP) is encouraging residents and visitors to prepare for potential blizzard-like conditions as more than a foot of snow and high winds are forecast across much of the state. Dangerous driving conditions and power outages are expected through the weekend.

“We are closely monitoring conditions as they develop and taking action to prepare for any potential winter weather-related impacts,” said Capt. Kevin Sweeney, deputy state director of Emergency Management and commander of the MSP, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (EMHSD). “Avoid travel if possible and check in on your vulnerable loved ones. Let’s all work together to keep ourselves, families, friends, and neighbors safe.”

The MSP recommends these 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.
  • Avoiding travel is advised, but if you must go out remember these tips to stay safe:
  • Check the weather before leaving for a destination. If the weather forecast looks dangerous, reschedule, or postpone the trip, if possible.
  • Do not crowd snowplows. Give snowplow drivers plenty of room to clear snow from the roads.
  • Keep tires at the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended pressure and routinely check tire pressure during cold weather.
  • Make sure the windshield solvent reservoir is full. Check the condition of all wiper blades and replace them when necessary.
  • Wash your vehicle for better visibility to other drivers. Remove ice and snow from all lights, windows, and license plates before driving.
  • Periodically check all lights and replace them when necessary.
  • Keep an emergency preparedness kit in your vehicle stocked with batteries, battery-powered or hand-crank radio, flashlight, windshield scraper, jumper cables, shovel, blankets, first aid kit, non-perishable food, and bottled water in the event you get stranded or stuck.

For more information on how to prepare before, during, and after an emergency or disaster, visit www.michigan.gov/miready or follow MSP/EMHSD on Twitter at @MichEMHS.