LANSING — Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed an order declaring a state of emergency in Michigan on Monday night, helping to address threats to public safety and health related to extremely cold winter temperatures in the next few days.
“Keeping Michiganders safe during this stretch of dangerously cold temperatures is our priority,” said Whitmer in a press release.
“Such widespread, extreme conditions have not occurred in Michigan for many years and it is imperative that we are proactive with record-low temperatures being predicted by the National Weather Service. Wind chills are predicted as low as 50 degrees below zero in many places, such as metro Detroit which is especially unaccustomed to these temps.”
Much of the Lower Peninsula has been impacted thus far, with temperatures expected to hover near the 0 degree mark and wind chills 50 degrees below Fahrenheit or lower in some areas.
Whitmer also released the following tips for staying safe during the cold weather:
-Limit your time outside. If you do go outside, wear multiple layers of warm clothing, and monitor yourself for signs of frostbite and hypothermia.
-Signs of frostbite include: Loss of feeling and color around the face, fingers and toes, numbness, white or grayish-yellow skin, firm or waxy skin.
-Signs of hypothermia include: shivering, exhaustion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech or drowsiness.
-Avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Only use generators and grills outdoors and away from windows, and never heat your home with a stove top or oven.
-Be careful not to overexert yourself during snow shoveling, as doing so may raise your risk of a heart attack.
-Keep pets indoors and shielded from the cold whenever possible.
-Check on neighbors, especially older adults and young children.
-Keep a full tank of gas and an emergency preparedness kit in your vehicle, along with warm clothing and accessories, if you do travel. An extra cell phone charger could also come in handy.
In response to the emergency declaration, the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) has been activated. It is located at the Michigan State Police Headquarters in Mondale, and coordinates with other partners for information coordination and decision making during emergencies.
Anyone who needs assistance or guidance during the emergency is urged to call 211. You can also visit www.michigan.gov/roadconditions for more information on current weather and road conditions.