Most of the winter weather that southeast Michigan has seen this season has been of the nuisance type.

It’s been enough to delay or cancel school. It also has been enough to cause more than the usual number of accidents and related highway closures on I-75 and US-23.

There is a winter storm heading to Monroe Tuesday Feb. 26. While the forecasters are saying even this morning that amounts of snow, rain or perhaps ice is very hard to predict in advance of this storm, the likelihood is good that there will be a noticeable impact if not on local travel than on the regional commutes.

I posted my annual “snow days cost you money” chatter last Friday after yet another nuisance weather situation. But this week’s storm could easily be one where the disruption level goes beyond just a few hours of annoyance.

You can save money and hassle by preparing today for the bad weather, while the roads are still clear and the sun is shining.

Consider these points:

Auto and travel

Does your car have a full tank of gas? I filled my tank yesterday so that I wouldn’t need to make a gas station when it was snowing.

On a related note: Do you have an emergency kit in your car? This should include a change of clothes if you commute out of town for work or school. My husband had a one-hour commute to a job in northwest Ohio when we first moved to Monroe. He was stranded twice with overnight stays with our family in that area when the roads closed faster than he could make it home.

Also on a related note: Do you have a cell phone charger in your car?

And do you have emergency phone numbers such as your auto club programmed into that phone?

Groceries

One of my favorite social media discussion starters during winter weather is: what three things do you stock up on at the grocery store before the snow arrives?

This is inspired by memories I have from my childhood. Many of us who lived through the Great Blizzard of 1978 in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan could not get out of our neighborhoods for days, and there were people who ran out of food and supplies while the roads were blocked.

All joking aside, do you have the frequently used supplies you need for the next couple of days at home in terms of bread? milk? diapers? medication?

Maybe you would like an adult beverage after shoveling the snow. That’s fair game, too.

And do you have some idea of what to cook when the power goes out? That was a theme I had for a disaster planning series last year.

Electronics

People are willing to put up with a lot of inconveniences these days if they can only stay in contact with friends, relatives and co-workers.

On the possibility that heavy snow or ice can cause power outages, do you have your computers and cell phones fully charged? If your phone service or Internet goes out if the power goes out, what is your backup method for communications?

CNNTEch has some great tips, by the way, on how to keep your cell phone charged during such a situation.

If you need a different kind of power cord or a battery backup, you have time today to go purchase one.

Social media

This is a good time, if you haven’t done so already, to sign up for any breaking news and emergency alert networks that are available to your community. The Monroe Evening News, for example, has such a service and we really do use it to send information you need to know! I’ve sent out alerts for some of the recent I-75 shutdowns and school closings.

I also suggest adding the Monroe, if not also Detroit and Toledo news media, to your Facebook and Twitter news feeds. It is standard practice now to crosspost breaking news announcements on social media feeds.

What if it all just fizzles out?

Well, now, that would be a nice surprise!

But the reality is: we live in Michigan. Snow happens.

 

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