First Winter Storm Of 2020: Are You Prepared?

WWJ News
January 10, 2020 - 7:17 am

DETROIT (WWJ) - People across southeast Michigan are bracing for a wild weather weekend as the first winter storm of 2020 is about to strike the area. 

Heavy rain, freezing rain, sleet and snow are all possible for southeast Michigan this weekend. The National Weather Service has posted a Winter Storm Watch for Oakland, Livingston, Lapeer and Genesee counties from Friday night through Sunday morning. Ice accumulations around a half an inch are possible, mainly north of M-59.

Power outages and tree damage are likely due to the ice and strong winds. With the threat of a possible extended power outage, police are reminding residents to have an emergency preparedness kit on hand. It should include a flashlight and extra batteries, a battery-powered radio, first aid kit, non-perishable food and water, and a multi-tool, among other items. It's not a bad idea to get an extra set of clothing and some blankets together. 

Meantime, all of southeast Michigan, including Wayne, Macomb, Washtenaw and Monroe counties, will be under a Flood Watch from Friday night through late Saturday night. Two to three inches of rain are likely. Small creeks and streams are likely to flood and there could be flooding on roads.

In addition, a Lakeshore Flood Warning will be in effect for counties bordering lake Huron, Saturday and Saturday night.

Michigan State Police Lt. Mike Shaw urges drivers who encounter water over the roadway to remember this motto: "Turn around, don't drown." 

"Just don't drive in there at all," Shaw said, speaking live on WWJ on Friday. "If you do see any standing  water, which we do expext to see on freeways and roads, anytime that you have this much rain coming in."

Shaw said if you get stuck inside your vehicle you should stay in the car if it's safe, and call 911. If you need to get out, exit through your window and wait for help. 

Homeowners are encouraged to make a tour around the house before the heavy rains come in. To prepare for flooding, raise things up on pallets in your basement and move valuables to higher ground. 

"Make sure all the downspouts are extended and gutters are working properly. You always want to make sure that your sump systems are working properly -- test those," said Dale King, Inspections Manager at Foundation Systems of Michigan.

It's also good to check the sewer grate in front of your home to prevent any flooding in the streets. If you have a generator, ensure you have extra fuel on hand. You should also have an alternate cooking source and locate your cellphone car charger, too. 

For the latest weather forecast and updates from the roads, stay with WWJ Newsradio 950 during Traffic and Weather on the 8s, 24-hours a day. >>LISTEN LIVE!