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Caution Urged As Bitter Cold Moves Across Metro Detroit

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LANSING (WWJ) - Officials are urging people in metro Detroit to take precautions as another round of bitterly cold weather settles in across Michigan.

The Michigan State Police’s Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division issued a warning Wednesday, advising citizens to be extra cautious when going out in the extreme cold.

The cold weather is already moving into the state, with readings in the single digits throughout Metro Detroit Wednesday morning. And wind chills are making temperatures feel much colder — more like several degrees below zero.

The National Weather Service said the extreme temperatures and wind chills at 20 below or colder will be sticking around through at least Sunday. Parts of southeastern Michigan are also expected to get several inches of snow through the weekend.

The extreme cold could also cause school closures. [SCHOOL CLOSINGS: Check The List]

Here’s the local forecast from the CBS Detroit weather team:

Wednesday: Breezy and colder with clouds limiting sun. Winds WSW at 10 to 20 mph. High 14F. Cloudy, windy and cold overnight; some snow late with little or no accumulation. Winds SW at 15 to 25 mph. Low 6F.

Thursday: A snow shower in the morning; otherwise, variable cloudiness, windy and frigid. Winds WNW at 20 to 30 mph. High 12F. Mainly clear overnight with the temperature breaking the record of -1; extreme cold can be dangerous late. Winds NW at 10 to 15 mph. Low -7F.

Friday: Some sunshine giving way to clouds and bitterly cold. Winds SE at 10 to 15 mph. High 15F. Colder overnight with periods of snow, accumulating 1-3 inches. Winds SE at 5 to 10 mph. Low 14F.

Saturday: Cloudy skies with a few snow showers later in the day. Winds WSW at 10 to 15 mph. High 32F. Cold overnight with snow,  accumulating 3-6 inches. Winds N at 10 to 15 mph. Low 14F.

Sunday: Cloudy and colder with snow showers. Winds NE at 10 to 20 mph. High 18F. Colder overnight with snow at times. Otherwise, frigid. Winds NE at 10 to 15 mph. Low 8F.

Exposure to extreme temperatures could potentially cause frostbite and hypothermia, as well as create hazardous driving conditions and cause frozen pipes.

To stay safe during cold weather:

  • Stay indoors if possible. If you must go outside, wear protective gear—such as hats, mittens and gloves—in addition to a warm coat. Always protect your lungs with a scarf.
  • Watch for signs of frostbite, which include loss of feeling or pale appearance of fingers, toes or face.
  • Watch for signs of hypothermia, which include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, drowsiness and exhaustion.
  • Understand the hazards of wind chill. As wind speed increases, heat is carried away from a person’s body more rapidly and could lead to severe hypothermia.
  • Remove clothing if it gets damp or wet. Wet clothing can make you more prone to hypothermia.
  • Check on family, friends and neighbors who are at risk and may need additional assistance. Watch pets closely and keep them indoors when possible. Animals can suffer from hypothermia, frostbite and other cold weather injuries.
  • Minimize travel. If travel is necessary, keep a full tank of gas and an emergency preparedness kit in your vehicle. Put warm clothing—such as gloves, blankets and hats—in your kit in case you become stranded.

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 To protect pipes from freezing:

  • If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. Likely places for frozen pipes include against exterior walls or where the water service enters a home through the foundation.
  • Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing.
  • Let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe—even at a trickle—helps prevent pipes from freezing.
  • Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature during the day and night. Temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures may cause a higher heating bill, but prevents costly repairs if pipes freeze and burst. If you are going away during cold weather, leave the heat on and set to a temperature no lower than 55 degrees.

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To thaw out frozen pipes:

  • Keep the faucet open. As a pipe is treated and the frozen area begins to melt, water will begin to flow. Running water through the pipe will help melt ice in the pipe.
  • Apply heat to the frozen section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials) or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. DO NOT use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove or other open flame device. Apply heat until full water pressure is restored.
  • Call a licensed plumber if the frozen area cannot be located, accessed or thawed.

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Know before you go: Keep it tuned to WWJ Newsradio 950 for the latest forecast during traffic and weather, every 10 minutes on the 8s. See the live, local radar now at this link.

Sign up for severe weather text alerts: Text STORM to 95001
For daily weather forecast text alerts: Text FORECAST to 95001

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