A winter storm is sweeping across the country, bringing with it record cold. According to CNN, more than one third of the continental U.S. is seeing temperatures below zero this week.

On Tuesday, February 16, Michigan State Police issued a warning about snow-covered roads today and below zero temperatures forecasted tonight.

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According to the National Weather Service, while snow is expected to end late this morning,

With the fine and fluffy texture of this fresh snow, it is easily blown around by other vehicles, quickly lowering your visibility.

 

Currently, it's 10 degrees in Grand Rapids, but feels like -3. The low tonight is -1. According to NWS, temperatures will drop overnight into Wednesday morning, due to  clearing skies, light winds, and a fresh snowpack:

Temperatures will drop into the negatives, with wind chills as low as -20. Wind chills as low as -18 can result in frostbite in as little as 30 minutes for exposed skin, so bundle up!

Capt. Kevin Sweeney, deputy state director of Emergency Management and commander of the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP/EMHSD) said in a release,

With the National Weather Service forecasting sub-zero temperatures, it’s important that Michiganders take steps to stay safe during this period of cold weather. If you must go outdoors or have to travel, be sure to dress appropriately and have an emergency preparedness kit in your vehicle.

MSP offers the following tips for staying safe during cold weather:

  • Limit your time outside. If you need to go outside, wear layers of warm clothing. Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia.
  • Signs of frostbite include loss of feeling and color around the face, fingers and toes, numbness, white or grayish-yellow skin, firm or waxy skin.
  • Signs of hypothermia include shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech or drowsiness.
  • Avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Only use generators and grills outdoors and away from windows. Never heat your home with a gas stovetop or oven.
  • Reduce the risk of a heart attack. Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow.
  • Check on neighbors. Older adults and young children are more at risk in extreme cold.
  • Pets are also at risk for cold weather injuries and should be kept indoors.

MSP's safe winter driving tips:

  • Check the weather before leaving for a destination. If the weather forecast looks dangerous, consider rescheduling or postponing the trip.
  • 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 and check the condition of all wiper blades and replace when necessary.
  • Wash your vehicle for better visibility to other drivers. Remove ice and snow from all lights, windows and license plate before driving.
  • 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.

Stay safe and warm, West Michigan!

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