MSP asks residents to stay safe during bitter cold, snow impacting Michigan

Published 11:33 am Tuesday, February 16, 2021

LANSING – With snow-covered roads today and below zero temperatures forecast to impact the state tonight, the Michigan State Police is encouraging state residents and visitors to be extra cautious when going outdoors.

“With the National Weather Service forecasting subzero temperatures, it’s important that Michiganders take steps to stay safe during this period of cold weather,” said Capt. Kevin Sweeney, deputy state director of Emergency Management and commander of the MSP, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division. “If you must go outdoors or have to travel, be sure to dress appropriately and have an emergency preparedness kit in your vehicle.”

The NWS is forecasting portions of Michigan to experience sub-zero overnight low temperatures tonight. Exposure to these temperatures could potentially cause frostbite and hypothermia.

To be safe during the cold weather:

  • Limit time outside. If residents 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.
  • Pets are also at risk for cold weather injuries and should be kept indoors.

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 of getting stranded or stuck.


Michigan weather is unpredictable any time of year, but especially during the winter months. If a driver becomes stranded, they should not leave the vehicle. Stay with the vehicle and wait for help.

Motorists are encouraged to check travel conditions and weather reports before driving at Major road closures can be found at Michigan.Gov/Drive. The MSP/EMHSD asks that residents tune into local news and/or view these websites rather than calling a local MSP post or 911 for travel conditions.

For more information on how to prepare before, during and after an emergency or disaster, visit Michhigan.Gov/MiReady or follow MSP/EMHSD on Twitter at @MichEMHS.