MICHIGAN (CBS DETROIT/PATCH) — Winter thunderstorms are in store for the weekend around Southeastern Michigan, forecasters say. Expect cool temps and a downpour on Saturday and Sunday, with gusty winds.

The Michigan State Police (MSP) is encouraging residents to use caution during high winds that are forecast to affect much of the state on Sunday.

The National Weather Service predicts wind gusts in excess of 50-60 mph to impact Michigan beginning Sunday morning and lasting through the evening. The severe weather increases the potential for widespread and lengthy power outages. Snow showers will also develop in the late morning and afternoon, and last into Sunday night. Strong winds and blowing snow could create dangerous travel with possibly near whiteout conditions statewide.

“The length of a power outage can never be predicted,” said Capt. Emmitt McGowan, deputy state director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and commander of the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP/EMHSD). “Taking a few steps to prepare ahead of a power outage can minimize loss and keep all members of your household as comfortable as possible.”

Tips to prepare for a power outage:

  • Fill plastic containers with water and place them in the refrigerator and freezer. Cold water bottles will help keep food cold during a power outage and can also be used for drinking water.
  • Check with your physician or pharmacist about any medication that requires refrigeration. It is important to know how long medication is safe in the refrigerator without power.
  • Make a plan to prepare for family members with disabilities or who have ill health.
  • Try to keep gas tanks at least half full. If the power goes out, gas stations may be unavailable.
  • Have extra cash available. ATMs will not work without electricity.
  • Keep a key to the house with you when away from home. The garage will not open if the power is out.

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