UPDATE- Saturday 2/23/19 3:50pm

The National Weather Service has canceled the Winter Storm Watch and has now issued a High Wind Warning in effect from 7 am Sunday to 7 am Monday for most of the lower peninsula and it includes all counties in the West Michigan region.

Wind gusts from 55 to 65 mph are expected at time from Sunday morning through Sunday evening. Impacts from this storm are forecast to include numerous power outages likely, downed trees, tree limbs and power lines. Prolonged power outages are possible.

ORIGINAL REPORT-

The next major winter weather event of the season is expected to rip through much of Michigan Sunday, including Battle Creek, Kalamazoo and surrounding areas. The National Weather Service says wind gusts are forecast to reach or exceed 60 mph at times, which could lead to wind damage and widespread power outages.

High winds are forecast to combine with occasional snow and falling temperatures to potentially lead to major impacts locally. Blowing snow could cause significant reductions to visibility at times. Accumulations of up to 2 inches are possible with highest amounts across central lower Michigan.

The Michigan State Police is encouraging residents to use caution as the potential for widespread and lengthy power outages is expected to occur in some spots. They also are urging residents to make emergency preparations.

“The length of a power outage can never be predicted. 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.” - 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).

 

Tips to prepare for a lengthy 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.

The following blackout-specific items should be added to your emergency preparedness kit:

  • Extra batteries
  • Large flashlights/ emergency lighting
  • Food that does not require heat
  • Warm clothes and blankets