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Ottawa County: Stay home and stay indoors

OTTAWA COUNTY - With the continuing lake effect snow and the coming blast of bitter cold temperatures, Ottawa County officials are urging residents to stay home and stay indoors.

More snow is falling throughout the week and wind chills could hit between -25 and -40 degrees over the next couple of days.

The Winter Storm Warning is in effect until Thursday at 1:00 p.m.

County emergency management advises:

Avoid all nonessential travel. If you must travel:

  • Anticipate road closures due to crashes.
  • Expect slick roads and periods of white out conditions.
  • Drive slow, turn on your headlights, leave extra space between you and other cars.
  • Do not crowd plows or emergency vehicles.

If you must go outside:

  • Dress in layers; include hat, mittens, and scarf or face mask; and water resistant boots and coat.
  • Dress leaving little skin exposed. Exposed skin could experience frostbite in as little as 10 minutes at the predicted wind chill temperatures. Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and color. It most often affects the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers, or toes. Frostbite can permanently damage the body, and severe cases can lead to amputation.
  • Do not ignore shivering. It’s an important first sign that the body is losing heat. Persistent shivering is a signal to return indoors.
  • Protect pets from the cold.

Staying warm indoors safely:

  • Check on elderly friends and neighbors frequently to ensure their homes are adequately heated.
  • Never use a generator indoors, in the basement, or inside the garage because of the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Assure adequate ventilation if you must use a kerosene heater.
  • Ensure fireplaces, wood stoves, or other combustion heaters are properly vented to the outside.
  • Use only the type of fuel your heater is designed to use—don’t substitute.
  • Do not place a space heater within three feet of anything that may catch on fire, such as drapes, furniture, or bedding. Never cover your space heater; place a space heater on top of furniture or near water; or leave children unattended near a space heater.
  • Warming shelters are opened at:
    • Grand Haven Community Center, 421 Columbus Avenue
      Hours: Monday- Friday; 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
    • Hope Church, 77 W 11th Street, Holland
      Hours: Monday- Friday; 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
    • Calvary Church, 400 Beeline Road, Holland
      Hours: Monday- Friday; 8:00 am – 6:00 pm
    • Maple Avenue Ministry,  427 Maple Avenue, Holland
      Hours: Monday- Friday; 9:00 pm – 9:00 am (overnight)
    • Holland Rescue Mission, 166 South River Avenue AND 356 Fairbanks Avenue
      Hours: 24/7
    • Love In Action, 326 N Ferry Street, Grand Haven
      Hours: Monday- Friday; 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
    • Christ Memorial Church, 595 Graafschap Road, Holland
      10:00 am - 9:00 pm; Thursday overnight available for women & children.
    • For additional locations of warming centers, call the Emergency Operations Center at 616-738-4665. If you know of a shelter, please call 616-738-4665 to add to our list.
    • An online map will be available shortly.

Stay Connected:

  • Subscribe to Ottawa County information at miOttawa.org/connect.
  • Follow Ottawa County on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
  • Go to smart911.com or their mobile app to create or update your safety profile, giving Ottawa County the ability to utilize your emergency contacts, address, and any special medical or emergency needs in the event of a 911 phone call from your mobile phone. Additionally, Smart 911 subscribers and opt in to emergency alerts from Ottawa County.

Roads:

The Ottawa County Road Commission maintains all state highways & primary roads continuously during winter storms. Every vehicle available is out clearing roads, working to keep travel safe and limiting delays as much as possible. It can take up to 48 hours after a major storm event to get through all the routes. The Road Commission is asking for the public's cooperation and understanding over the next few days as crews work round the clock to plow the secondary and subdivision streets.

Other Information:

Those needing individual assistance should contact United Way by calling  211 or online at call-211.org.

More information about winter weather safety is available at https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/

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