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Posted on Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 5:56 a.m.

Holiday travelers urged to take precautions during winter storm

By Erica Hobbs

While we may enjoy a White Christmas this year, those planning on traveling for the holidays should take extra precaution in case of storms.

The National Weather Service is predicting a winter storm will hit Southeast Michigan, calling it the "the first major winter storm of the season." Rain is likely to turn to snow Thursday night and continue into Friday, with temperatures reaching a high of 34 degrees Friday and gusts of up to 41 miles per hour.

The storm originated in the Rocky Mountain area and has been making its way east. While snow accumulation will likely not be more than an inch in Ann Arbor and Southeast Michigan, other parts of the state and country are expected to be hit much harder.

Traverse City, northwest Lower Michigan and the eastern Upper Peninsula are expected to get 6-10 inches of snow, with wind gusts reaching 35 miles per hour Thursday night and Friday morning, making driving conditions dangerous.

Detroit Metropolitan AirportSpokesman Scott Wintner said the airport is not overly worried about the storm, but said flyers should contact their individual airlines directly before heading to the airport in case of cancellations or delays.

“We’re certainly concerned,” he said. “But we’re pretty well prepared to handle winter weather in Michigan, we’ll make sure we’ll have our resources.”

The American Red Cross is urging people to stay inside and avoid unnecessary travel if facing a winter storm, and has issued the following tips to keep people safe and warm:

  • Do not use stoves or ovens to heat the home.
  • Place space heaters on a hard, level, nonflammable surface. Do not put space heaters on rugs or carpets, near bedding or drapes, and keep children and pets away.
  • Turn off space heaters or extinguish the fireplace before going to bed or leaving home.
  • Keep all flammable materials such as newspapers, matches, bedding, clothing, carpets and rugs at least three feet away from heat sources such as space heaters, fireplaces and stoves.
  • Wear waterproof, insulated boots to keep feet warm and dry and to maintain footing in ice and snow.
  • If shoveling snow, take frequent breaks and stay hydrated. Avoid overexertion.
  • Avoid traveling by car in a storm, but if someone must be out on the roads …
  • Carry a Disaster Supply Kit in the trunk.
  • Keep the car's gas tank full for emergency use and to keep the fuel line from freezing.
  • The traveler should let someone know where they are going, the route being taken and expected arrival time. If their vehicle gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along the predetermined route.
  • If someone has to leave home and go to a shelter, they should remember to bring prescription and emergency medications, extra clothing, pillows, blankets, toiletries, important documents and other comfort items. They should remember items needed for infants and children, such as diapers, formula, and toys, along with any special things for family members who are elderly or disabled.



Thu, Dec 20, 2012 : 2:47 p.m.

Year round it is not a bad idea to keep a couple of blankets in the car. One never knows if they may be a "first on the scene" of an accident. Keeping an injured victim covered and talking may save them from going into a shock situation.