By Sara Powers

(CBS DETROIT) – Michigan State Police are warning Michigan residents and visitors to prepare for the winter storm that is expected to hit the southern Lower Peninsula starting Wednesday.

According to the National Weather Service, the snow is expected to begin early in the morning on Wednesday and continue through Thursday.

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Many areas are expected to get up to 16 inches of snow, with southwest Michigan possibly getting up to 20 inches.

“Travel may be extremely dangerous over the next few days, so we are asking people to stay home, if possible,” said Col. Joe Gasper, state director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and director of the Michigan State Police. “Winter weather is not unexpected in Michigan but preparing beforehand is the best way to keep you and your family safe.”

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To stay safe during a winter storm, MSP shared these tips:

  • Stay indoors if possible. If you must go outside, wear protective gear, such as a hat, mittens, gloves, scarf and a warm coat.
  • Avoid overexertion when shoveling heavy snow, pushing a car, or walking in deep snow. Take breaks frequently.
  • 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.
  • Remove clothing if it gets damp or wet. Wet clothing can make you more prone to hypothermia.
  • Weatherproof doors and windows to trap heat inside your home.
  • Check heating units. Poorly operating or damaged heating units can release carbon monoxide gas. Test carbon monoxide detectors for proper operation and battery life.
  • Check on family, friends and neighbors who are at risk and may need additional assistance.

If a person needs to drive, they are encouraged to check the winter road conditions before driving.

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