A winter storm is heading for the Mitten State tonight and Michigan State Police are urging residents to be prepared.

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The National Weather service is predicting that rain will start around 4p.m. Tuesday, which will turn to snow overnight as temperatures drop drastically.

A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect 2a.m. Wednesday to 11p.m. Thursday in Kent, Ottawa, Ionia, and Allegan counties, with three to six inches of snow are expected.

In Van Buren, Kalamazoo, and Calhoun counties, a Winter Storm Warning is in effect, with six to ten inches of snow expected, though in some areas, it could be much more.

The highest amount of snow accumulation is expected near and south of I-94.

In a release Tuesday afternoon, the Michigan State Police said,

The National Weather Service is forecasting snow to begin early Wednesday morning and last through Thursday night. Snow totals are expected up to 16 inches in many of the impacted areas, with localized amounts of up to 20 inches possible in southwest Michigan. The snow, combined with gusting winds, is expected to cause low visibility and hazardous driving conditions.

National Weather Service
National Weather Service

Col. Joe Gasper, state director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and director of the Michigan State Police said,

Travel may be extremely dangerous over the next few days, so we are asking people to stay home, if possible. Winter weather is not unexpected in Michigan but preparing
beforehand is the best way to keep you and your family safe.

Michigan State Police offer the below tips to stay safe during a winter storm:

  • Stay indoors if possible. If you must go outside, wear protective gear, such as a hat, mittens, gloves, scarf and a warm coat.
  • Avoid overexertion when shoveling heavy snow, pushing a car, or walking in deep snow. Take breaks frequently.
  • Watch for signs of frostbite, which include loss of feeling or pale appearance of fingers, toes or face.
  • Watch for signs of hypothermia, which include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, drowsiness and exhaustion.
  • Remove clothing if it gets damp or wet. Wet clothing can make you more prone to hypothermia.
  • Weatherproof doors and windows to trap heat inside your home.
  • Check heating units. Poorly operating or damaged heating units can release carbon monoxide gas. Test carbon monoxide detectors for proper operation and battery life.
  • Check on family, friends and neighbors who are at risk and may need additional assistance.
State of Michigan - Cold Health and Safety
State of Michigan - Cold Health and Safety

You can find more information on staying safe during winter weather here.

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