First Alert: Five things you can do now to be ready for the storm heading toward Michigan
LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - The worst time to plan for weather is after it already happened. Thursday, Feb. 17 has been declared a First Alert Weather Day for expected impacts from a powerful storm system that will move through the area.
News 10 Meteorologists say to expect rain tonight, ice at dawn, then snow tomorrow afternoon. There’s things you can do right now to be ready for the weather tomorrow.
Remove snow by downspouts
“It appears now that Thursday morning may start with just some patchy freezing drizzle or sleet,” News 10 Meteorologist Justin Bradford said. “We may have to wait until the late morning or early afternoon hours for a second surge of moisture moving along a front south of Michigan to bring accumulating snow to the area.”
Given the snow already on the ground, and the anticipated rain followed by freezing temperatures Thursday, it would be a wise idea to remove any lingering snow by downspouts.
Snow could form a blockage at the end of a downspout. Water that accumulated in the downspout could then freeze, expand and cause damage.
Set the salt out
But don’t pour it yet! Salt on the ground now is not likely to help tomorrow morning.
“First it’s going to rain all night,” News 10 Meteorologist Andy Provenzano said. “Then, just after dawn, we’re anticipating a freeze.”
The weather team says the rain tonight is likely to wash away salt currently on the ground, but at the same time it will all freeze at dawn. Instead of pouring salt now, set it outside your door.
Then it will be at hand when you need to leave in the morning, and may also serve as a reminder that the surface ahead is slippery.
Cover your car (if you can)
It’s one thing to give your car a quick brush before heading off to work, but its another thing entirely to chisel it out of a layer of ice.
If you own a garage, tonight is the sort of night it was built for. If you have a tarp large enough to cover your vehicle, it will save you time and energy tomorrow.
If you have neither, make a mental note that you may need even more time in the morning, because...
Set your alarm for earlier
Even if you do everything else right, others may not. The roads will will be hit with thick, heavy snow.
“I call it ‘greasy snow’ sometimes,” Provenzano said. “It’s because of the water content. It’s much more, much heavier, so when that snow falls on the ground and tires crush it, you get this super-slippery substance you’re driving on.”
That means difficult driving conditions, and likely delays due to crashes. Don’t add to it by rushing to get to work. Set your alarm early enough to do your normal morning activities, plus give yourself time to clear off your car and drive to work slowly.
“3 p.m. to 9 p.m.,” Provenzano said. “That’s likely to be the worst time to be trying to drive in this.”
If possible, consider rescheduling any appointments or switching in-person meetings to virtual. Driving for that 6-hour-stretch will involve navigating heavy snowfall on icy roads.
“Snow won’t get here until after 3 p.m.,″ Provenzano said. “It’s raining all night and freezing at dawn, though.”
Take advantage of the early warning: Reasonable precautions today can make tomorrow’s anticipated weather much easier to navigate.
Download the News 10 First Alert Weather App for forecast updates, radar and severe weather notifications on your smartphone.
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