EAST LANSING, Mich. — With a significant winter storm expected to make its way to Michigan this weekend, East Lansing residents are encouraged to be prepared for the potential of power outages, dangerous travel conditions and downed power lines and trees. The forecast for mid-Michigan is currently indicating that there will be heavy winds, snow and significant accumulations of ice and sleet in the area, with the timing of the worst conditions spanning from daybreak on Saturday, Jan. 11 to daybreak on Sunday, Jan. 12.
With that in mind, City officials have met to discuss and prepare for weekend operations and will be closely monitoring the storm throughout the weekend. City crews will be out to address road conditions as needed, which could include clearing/salting roads, removing downed trees from roadways (when it is safe to) and coning/taping off areas where there are downed power lines. It is important to note that salt has limited effect on thick ice buildup and that crews are unable to remove downed trees that are touching downed power lines until utility and/or private companies are able to come in and make repairs.
If the roads become impassable due to thick ice and downed trees/power lines, an emergency declaration may be made, which could include the suspension of on-street parking and/or the suspension of all travel. Program cancellations and City facility closures may also be necessary. Residents should keep the following important things in mind:
- Downed power lines are extremely dangerous. They should not be touched or driven over with a vehicle and a safe distance should always be maintained. The minimum safe distance from a downed power line is 35 feet.
- Power outages and downed power lines should be reported to the Lansing Board of Water & Light at 877-295-5001 or Consumers Energy at 800-477-5050. Both utility companies also have outage centers:
- Resident are encouraged to call 911 if a downed power line is causing a public safety hazard (i.e. down in a street/sidewalk).
- Community members are strongly encouraged to sign up for Nixle emergency alert updates from the East Lansing Police Department (ELPD) at https://local.nixle.com/register/ or by texting their zip code to 888777. In the event of a power outage, Nixle provides a means for residents to receive real-time text and email updates from ELPD on their phones.
- Residents can call the ELPD’s 24/7 non-emergency phone number to report downed trees and basement flooding: (517) 351-4220.
- Overnight on-street parking requests have been suspended for Friday, Jan. 10 due to the severe weather warning that starts at 1 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 11.
- Residents are encouraged to avoid unnecessary travel and, if travel is necessary, motorists are encouraged to drive with caution.
- Residents are encouraged to have enough food and supplies to stay in their homes for up to 48 to 72 hours without power.
- Residents are encouraged to refrain from parking vehicles near large trees.
- Residents are encouraged to check their sump pump and back-up sump pump to make sure they are working properly.
- Residents are encouraged to remove valuable items from basements due to the potential for flooding.
City officials will be closely monitoring the storm throughout the weekend and will provide additional updates to the community as they become necessary.