UPPER PENINSULA, Mich. (WJMN) – Much of the Upper Peninsula is set to have a White Christmas in 2022, as a large winter storm at the end of the week is expected to bring multiple inches of snow along with strong winds to the region.
As many people plan to travel to be with family for the holiday this weekend, it’s more important than ever to follow safe-driving practices. Beyond driving, it’s also important to be weather-ready even if you plan to stay home during the storm.
Here are some resources to help you stay informed and well-prepared for the Christmas weekend:
You can monitor or report outages with the links below:
The State of Michigan has provided safety advice in the event of a power outage:
Before a power outage:
- Check flashlights and battery-powered portable radios to ensure that they are working, and you have extra batteries. A radio is an important source for obtaining weather and emergency information during a storm.
- Have sufficient heating fuel, as regular sources may be cut off. Have emergency heating source and fuel—such as a gas fireplace, wood burning stove or fireplace—so you can keep at least one room livable. Be sure the room is well ventilated.
- Make sure your home is properly insulated. Caulk and weather-strip doors and windows to keep cold air out.
- Install storm windows or cover windows with plastic from the inside to provide insulation.
- Know how to shut off water valves.
- Never try to thaw a pipe with a torch or other open flame. You may be able to thaw a frozen pipe with the warm air from a hair dryer. Start by warming the pipe as close to the faucet as possible, working toward the coldest section of pipe.
- Fill your bathtub and spare containers with water if your water supply could be affected, such as a well-water pump system. Water in the bathtub should be used for sanitation purposes only, not as drinking water. Pouring a pail of water from the tub directly into the bowl can flush a toilet.
- Check with your pharmacist for guidance on proper storage during an extended outage if you have medication that requires refrigeration.
- Review the process for manually operating an electric garage door.
During a power outage:
- Dress for the season, wearing several layers of loose fitting, light-weight, warm clothing, rather than one layer of heavy clothing. The outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent. Mittens are better than gloves.
- Wear a hat—most body heat is lost through the top of the head.
- Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs.
- Watch for signs of frostbite: loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in the extremities such as fingers, toes, ear lobes or the tip of the nose. If symptoms are detected, seek medical help immediately.
- Watch for signs of hypothermia: uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and apparent exhaustion. If symptoms are detected, get the victim to a warm location, remove any wet clothing, warm the center of the body first and give warm, non-alcoholic beverages, if the victim is conscious. Get medical help as soon as possible.
- Protect against possible voltage irregularities that can occur when power is restored, unplug all sensitive electronic equipment, including TVs, stereos, and computer.
- Use gasoline-powered generators with caution. Never run a generator inside a house. Place it outside with exhaust facing away from the home.
After a power outage:
- Be extra cautious if you go outside to inspect for damage after a storm. Downed or hanging electrical wires can be hidden by snowdrifts, trees or debris, and could be live. Never attempt to touch or move downed lines. Keep children and pets away from them. Always stay 25 feet away from downed power lines.
- Check on neighbors, especially senior citizens and individuals with functional needs.
- Do not touch anything power lines are touching, such as tree branches or fences. Always assume a downed line is a live line. Call your utility company to report any outage-related problem.
- Never call 9-1-1 to ask about a power outage.
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When it comes to driving on ice and snow, it’s nothing new for winter driving in the U.P., but Michigan State Police do have some helpful advice of their own to make sure if you absolutely have to drive this weekend, that you make the trip as safely as possible.
MDOT officials have said that a large number of their plows and salt trucks will be deployed during and after the storm. According to MDOT’s Dan Weingarten “This time of year is difficult because it’s always a transition between driving on dry pavement and driving on wet, slushy and potentially icy pavement. So we all need some time to readjust our driving habits. And the best thing we can remind people, is that when there is ice and snow, go slow.”
You can check for road closures and look at traffic cameras before you leave home with MDOT’s MiDrive Map.