LANSING, MI (WLNS) – Monday’s winter storm led Governor Rick Snyder to activate the State Emergency Operations Center.
The center works with state agencies and local governments to ensure all hands are on deck for response and recovery efforts, as snow, ice, and freezing rain swept through the state.
The conditions forced all state offices in the Lower Peninsula to close this afternoon, many local businesses followed suit due to the anticipated hazardous driving conditions.
Emergency management teams across mid-Michigan have been keeping a close eye on this storm since last week, and officials have been standing by since early Monday morning to respond if needed.
The recent mild weather is over, and sleet and freezing rain have taken its place. The dangerous conditions had state agencies and local governments tracking the situation closely all day.
The Lansing Fire Dept. Office of Emergency Management is among many of the agencies keeping a close eye.
“We’ve been having conference calls since 7 o’clock this morning about every 2 hours to make sure everyone’s in place and everything’s going and following the progress of the event,” Emergency Management Chief, Michael Tobin said.
The treacherous conditions led most state offices to close early for the day, making it the second time this year in 2015; state office buildings have closed due to severe weather.
They closed back in February due to emergency snow conditions and last year in 2014, a major winter storm hit in January.
Before 2014, though, it had been years since a large number of state offices closed due to bad weather conditions, like we saw Monday.
And from utility companies, to city departments, state agencies have all hands on deck in case of an emergency.
“We made sure additional crews, this would be the Board of Water and Light., make sure additional crews were available in the area; Both their crews and their mutual aid crews were on standby,” Tobin said. “On the road side they started to make sure the salt was everywhere that they needed, they changed the schedule of some of the drivers so that they were coming in later in the day when the event had started to make sure the routes were set.”
Because of the holiday season, many workers were called in to work overtime hours so that all avenues of local emergency responders were on standby.
“From the fire and police side we made sure that the crews were properly equipped, some of the local agencies put out additional crews just in case.”
The wintery mix is expected to sweep through the state until early Tuesday morning.
Here locally, emergency officials are ready for whatever may come our way.
“As long as we don’t have the freezing rain then we don’t have the ice buildup on the trees and the power lines and that reduces our major catastrophe incident,” Tobin said. “So all in all everyone’s handling it very well and if something does go sideways tonight we are ready for it.”
For more information on power outages in your area, school and business closings, or driver safety tips, everything you need to know is right here.