FEMA says prepare for winter storm

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With a significant winter storm on the way, the FEMA Region 5 office has issued a statement.

“Now is the time to make sure you have food, water, medications, and other critical supplies at home to last for several days, especially in case of potential power outages due to heavy snow and high winds,” said FEMA Region 5 Regional Administrator Tom Sivak. “Limit your time outdoors, avoid non-essential travel and listen to local updates for the latest road conditions and closures. When it is safe, check on your neighbors or friends nearby who may need assistance.”

The forecast includes heavy snow, high winds and blizzard-like conditions followed by severely cold temperatures into next week. The FEMA Region 5 office is encouraging everyone to be winter ready and take precautions now to stay safe.

Keep in mind each member of your household’s specific needs when gathering supplies before the storm. Don’t forget the needs of pets. Have extra batteries for radios and flashlights, and make sure your phone and other electronic items are fully charged in case you lose power.

Limit your time outside. If you need to go out, wear layers of warm clothing. Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia.

Remember safe home heating practices. Keep anything that can burn at least three feet from all heat sources including fireplaces, wood stoves, radiators, portable heaters or candles. Always plug space heaters directly into an outlet, and make sure its cord isn’t damaged or frayed. Never use an oven to heat your home.

If there’s a chance you may need assistance during this severe winter weather—for example, clearing snow and ice or moving to a warming center if it becomes necessary —have the name and contact information of a nearby family member or friend who can regularly check in on you.

According to the National Weather Service, the local forecast for Grand Rapids shows temperatures dipping steadily over the weekend.

This afternoon Grand Rapids residents can expect a slight chance of snow between 3 and 4 p.m. Skies will be mostly cloudy, with a high near 36 degrees. Winds will be out of the west around 9 miles per hour and the chance of precipitation is 20 percent.

There’s a 20 percent chance of snow showers after 4 a.m. early on Jan. 12, with mostly cloudy skies and a low around 27 degrees. 

Snow is expected Friday, Jan. 12 after 10 a.m. The snow could be heavy at times, with widespread blowing snow, mainly after 1 p.m. and a high near 33 degrees. It is expected to be breezy, with an east wind 11 – 16 mph increasing to 21 – 26 mph in the afternoon, with possible gusts as high as 44 mph. There is a 100-percent chance of precipitation, and a prediction of new snow accumulation at around 5 inches.

On Friday night, snow could be heavy at times with areas of blowing snow. A low of around 25 degrees is expected and significant winds out of the east 16 to 23 mph becoming west southwest after midnight. Winds gusts could reach as high as 40 mph. The chance of precipitation is 100 percent.  New snow accumulation of around 6 inches.

On Saturday, Jan. 13, patchy blowing snow is expected with a high near 28 degrees, with a west wind 26 to 29 mph, and gusts as high as 44 mph. The chance of precipitation for Saturday is 100 percent, with 2 inches of new snow expected.

On Saturday night, there will be patchy blowing snow between midnight and 1 a.m., with a low of around 14. Breezy. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New snow accumulation of around 3 inches.

Sunday will see a high near 17 degrees. Breezy. Chance of precipitation is 90 percent.  On Sunday night, snow is likely, with a low around 9 degrees. On Monday, Martin Luther King Day, snow is likely, with a high temperature near 15 degrees.

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