Grand Rapids Under Blizzard Warning. Will it be like 1978?
It's going to be tough going for the next couple of days as one of the worst Winter Storms affects most of the country including Grand Rapids and pretty much all of Michigan.
Now, the National Weather Service has issued a Blizzard Warning for West Michigan from 4 p.m. today until 7 p.m. Saturday, Christmas Eve. Travel will be extra difficult with widespread blowing snow. We are expecting between 10 to 20 inches of snow along with wind gusts of up to 45 mph.
My first thought? Could this equal the storm of '78? If you were living in Michigan back then, 44-years ago, you remember. It was in late January, and I remember it well as we were literally snowed in for a few days, not able to leave our house. From Grand Rapids to Muskegon, even Ann Arbor, we has from 12 to 30-inches of snow. 20-people lost their lives, heart attacks from shoveling snow or car accidents.
One of the good things was that everyone came together the help. Our neighbor, Gerry Helmholdt, who would later become Mayor of Grand Rapids in 1984, had a snowmobile. So he fired that baby up and went to each neighbors house asking if he could pick up some essentials at the grocery store. What a guy.
We are a bit more prepared today than back then, but traveling is not recommended, especially Friday and Saturday. But if you have to travel at all, Michigan State Police recommend carrying an emergency supply kit in your vehicle.
Here are a few recommended supplies for your kit:
Jumper cables - it's also not a bad idea to have flares or a reflective triangle.
A flashlight with extra batteries.
A first-aid kit
Water and food, specifically non-perishable items like canned food, nuts, or energy bars
A shovel, along with cat litter or sand to help dig you out of a ditch.
They also recommend keeping your fuel tank near full to prevent the freezing of the fuel line.
Make sure your home has enough food and water for at least three days. Flashlights, extra batteries, blankets and a battery-powered radio are all items MSP recommends having on hand.
Merry Christmas? Happy Chanukah? Be safe!
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