Greater Lansing Preps for Winter Storm

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Even at Christmastime, the Meijer supermarket and Okemos wasn't this busy.

Each and every aisle -- 34 in all -- had their lights on Saturday, starting as early as 11 a.m. Store Manager Chris Wilson had to call in extra people to stock shelves and pick up shopping carts too.

He credits an anticipated week of severe weather as the catalyst for the rush.

"This is the first real big [storm] of the year," Wilson said. "The ice storm was big but people didn't know exactly what was going to happen with that. But everyone knows when there's a forecast of 7-11 inches of snow."

There was no hot item, Wilson said, but he said staples like milk, bread, eggs and meat were showing up in a lot of carts.

It was much calmer before the storm at the City of Lansing's garage. Plow drivers got a day of rest while some mechanics put in overtime to get the city's salt trucks and plows in tip-top shape.

"We're just kind of resetting right now," said Chad Gamble, Lansing's director of public service. "We have to be very sharp, we have to make sure all of our equipment is ready, which we're doing today."

The city is all set with salt, Gamble said. It has 1,600 tons available to apply to 440 roads.

Residents should park their cars off the street, Gamble said, to make it easier for crews and to prevent a plow-in.

Ingham County Animal Control is stepping up its staffing as frigid weather approaches. Extra officers will be out Sunday to handle all welfare checks and the shelter itself will have extra hours for found and freezing animals.

"Especially now with the storm we're going to be having and the extreme cold we want to make sure all of the animals are being properly taken care of," said Ashley Hayes, volunteer and special events liaison.

Providing a non-frozen water source for pets is essential, Hayes said and wiping paws free of salt and antifreeze can keep pets safe.

"In the summer people figure, 'oh they're ok outside' and animals can survive outside," she said. "But in the winter it's very hard for them to do that and we would definitely love for every animal to be an indoor animal."

Other tips include banging on a car before starting it because many cats go near engines for warmth.

But the best rule of thumb, Hayes said, is keeping your animal with you.

"If you wouldn't be outside," she said, "they shouldn't be outside."