Snowstorm pushes through Michigan, snarls traffic - WNEM TV 5

Snowstorm pushes through Michigan, snarls traffic

Posted: Updated:
SAGINAW, MI (WNEM/AP) -

A winter storm pushed eastward out of Michigan after dumping as much as 10 inches of snow and snarling traffic, causing numerous crashes.

A truck hauling crude oil has crashed on a snowy Flint-area expressway, forcing a brief evacuation of homes and businesses.

The driver walked away from the crash at 11 a.m. Thursday on Interstate 69 in Genesee County's Davison Township.

Snow was falling with winds gusting to 23 miles per hour and the temperature was about 14 at the time.

The crash caused a fire, releasing toxic fumes.

Officials briefly ordered a 1-mile evacuation of the area and advised people to stay indoors.

The National Weather Service says at least 10 inches of snow has fallen in Allegan in southwestern Michigan during the multi-day storm. It says 8.6 inches fell at Schoolcraft near Kalamazoo.

The chill accompanying the storms pushed temperatures down into in the teens and single digits for most of the state Thursday afternoon.

TV5 Meteorologist Lauren Fahrenkrug says temperatures and wind chill values are extremely low Friday morning. Wind chill advisories are in effect until 10 a.m., and wind chills will stay around -15° for the morning. Avoid spending prolonged periods outside, as frostbite and hypothermia are concerns at these temperatures.

Highs Friday will only reach the low teens. We'll see a mix of sun and clouds early, then more clouds will build throughout the afternoon. The wind will pick up Friday afternoon, keeping our wind chill values below zero for the day. Please stay safe and warm!

  • Friday Night: Mostly cloudy and breezy. Low of 9.
  • Saturday: Chance of snow. High of 28.
  • Sunday: Scattered light snow. High of 23.
  • Monday:  Chance of snow, cold. High of 6.
  • Tuesday:  Very cold, isolated Snow.  High of 8.
  • Wednesday:  Mainly Cloudy.  High of 15.
  • Thursday:  Chance of snow. High of 25.

The Genesee County Health Department issued this warning regarding extremely cold temperatures that are hitting our region over the next few days:

With winter comes the certainty of low and even extremely low temperatures that may last for days or weeks. This is made worse with cold wind chill factors and high wind speeds. These temperatures may be harmful to each of us and people may even die because of extreme cold situations.

Prevention is the best defense against having to deal with extreme cold-weather conditions. Serious health problems can result from prolonged exposure to the cold. The most common cold related problems are hypothermia and frostbite. By preparing yourself in advance for winter emergencies and by observing safety precautions during times of extremely cold weather, you can reduce the risk of these weather-related health problems. The following tips are important for those cold to extremely cold winter days.

Hypothermia or abnormally low body temperature occurs when your body is exposed to very cold temperatures and it begins to lose heat faster then it can be produced. Prolonged exposure to cold will eventually use up your body's stored energy. Hypothermia can occur even at cool temperatures (above 40 degrees Fahrenheit ) if a person becomes chilled from rain, sweat, or submersion in cold water.

Victims of hypothermia are most often (1) elderly people (2) babies sleeping in cold bedrooms and (3) homeless persons, bikers and hunters, etc.

Hypothermia in adults can appear as shivering, confusion, memory loss, fumbling hands or slurred speech. In infants, the child may appear bright red, having cold skin and very low energy. If any of these signs appear, take the person's temperature. If it's below 95 degrees Fahrenheit, the situation is an emergency – get medical attention immediately. If medical care is not available, begin warming the person as follows:

  • Get the victim into a warm room or shelter
  • Remove any wet clothing on the victim
  • Warm the center of the body first-chest, neck, head and groin-using an electric blanket, if available, or use skin to skin contact under loose, dry layers of blankets, clothing, towels, or sheets.
  • Warm beverages can help increase the body temperature, but do not give alcoholic beverages. Do not try to give beverages to an unconscious person.
  • After body temperature has increased, keep the person dry and wrapped in a warm blanket, including the head and neck.
  • Get medical attention as soon as possible

Frostbite is an injury to the body that is caused by freezing and causes a loss of feeling and color in affected areas. It most often affects the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers, or toes. It can permanently damage the body and severe cases can lead to amputation. At the first signs of redness or pain in any skin area, get out of the cold or protect any exposed skin.

Any of the following signs may indicate frostbite:

  • A white or grayish-yellow skin area
  • Skin that feels unusually firm or waxy
  • Numbness

A victim is often unaware of frostbite until someone else points it out because the frozen tissues are numb. If you detect symptoms of frostbite, seek medical care. Since frostbite and hypothermia both result from exposure, first determine whether the victim also shows signs of hypothermia. If there is frostbite, but no sign of hypothermia, and immediate medical care is not available, do the following:

  • Get into a warm room as soon as possible
  • Unless absolutely necessary, do not walk on frostbitten feet or toes – this increases the damage.
  • Immerse the affected area in warm – not hot – water. (The temperature should be comfortable to the touch for unaffected parts of the body.)
  • Or, warm the affected area using body heat. For example, the heat of an armpit can be used to warm frostbitten fingers.
  • Do not rub the frostbitten area with snow or massage it at all. This can cause more damage.
  • Do not use a heating pad, heat lamp, or the heat of a stove, fireplace, or radiator for warming. Affected areas are numb and can be easily burned.

These procedures are not substitutes for proper medical care. Hypothermia is a medical emergency and frostbite should be evaluated by a health care provider. It is a good idea to take a first aid and emergency resuscitation (CPR) course to prepare for cold-weather health problems. Knowing what to do is an important part of protecting your health and the health of others.

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