By Julie Seraphinoff
As the first major storm of the winter season bears down on East Lansing, there are already a number of closings, reminders of what to expect and suggestions on how to make cleanup easier.
Ingham County is under a winter weather warning through Saturday.
The Ingham County Emergency Management’s (ICEM) most recent announcement on its Facebook page forecasts the roads will be fine this morning (Jan. 12). But expect windy conditions to develop around lunch and snow to begin in the early afternoon. By evening, there will be 1 to 3 inches of snow and gusty winds making road travel a challenge.
There had been an expectation of the snow changing over to rain for a period of time this evening. At this point, ICEM does not see that happening. There will be at least 4 to 8 inches “or so” of snow by Saturday morning when the bulk of the accumulation ends.
Winds of 20 to 35+ miles per hour out of the west and falling temperatures through Saturday will create issues on north/south roads like Hagadorn Road and U.S. 127.
ICEM reminds drivers to, “Keep it slow in ice and snow!”
All East Lansing schools closed for the day.
In anticipation of the blustery weather’s arrival, East Lansing Public School (ELPS) canceled classes for the day, along with after-school activities and sports practices. The announcement was made Thursday night (Jan. 11).
Today's closure means the last day of final exams at East Lansing High School (ELHS) will be Tuesday (Jan. 16) since there’s no school Monday (Jan. 15) for the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday. The first two days of finals were Wednesday (Jan. 10) and Thursday.
The City of East Lansing has reminders for residents.
The City of East Lansing announced it is closely monitoring the storm and said Department of Public Works (DPW) crews will be working around the clock and “relying on relief drivers due to the projected storm timeframe and long hours out on the roads.”
“Community members are asked to stay off the roads as much as possible and to be patient as crews clear the roadways,” the press release said.
Priority routes, including state highways and major streets as well as critical areas such as stops, hills and corners will be cleared first. Crews will then move on to residential streets, alleyways and cul-de-sacs.
Residents are reminded to avoid parking on city streets Friday and Saturday while clean up is ongoing. Overnight street parking is suspended from 2-6 a.m. through Sunday (Jan. 14).
Property owner responsibilities for snow removal can be found here.
City offices closing early or working with reduced staff today.
The city announced its offices and facilities will be closing early or working with reduced staff today. This includes the East Lansing 54-B District Court, which will close at noon and operate remotely from 1-4 p.m. The East Lansing Hannah Community Center (ELHCC) currently plans to close at 5 p.m. today. Additionally, the open swim scheduled from 3:30-5 p.m. at the Hannah Center has been canceled for today.
If additional closures of the Hannah Center and/or the East Lansing Public Library (ELPL) are required on Saturday due to the progression of the storm, the information will be posted on the city’s website and social media accounts.
BWL and Consumers are lining up crews for the storm in anticipation of downed lines and power outages.
Consumers Energy announced Thursday it has over 400 Consumers and contractor crews from as far away as Colorado, Alabama and New York ready to handle power outages throughout the Lower Peninsula of Michigan.
“Trucks and essential materials are prepared and staged to support restoration efforts in key areas, including mobile storm units that are already parked near Grand Rapids and Tawas to bring supplies closer to restoration work,” the announcement said.
Consumers Energy urges the public to keep important safety tips in mind: Stay at least 25 feet away from downed power lines, and report unguarded downed lines by calling 9-1-1 and Consumers Energy at 800-477-5050. (Lansing Board of Water and Light (BWL) customers can call 877-295-5001 to report downed lines.)
Consumers customers can report an outage, check the status of your outage and learn how you can safely prepare by visiting the Consumers Outage Center.
BWL is making similar storm preparations. BWL General Manager Dick Peffley told WILX News 10 that, while BWL is preparing for the storm, residents also need to prepare in the event of a power outage with extra batteries, extra fuel and wood, and generators.
Here is information from the BWL web site about how to report power outages and an outage map.