Winter weather hits Michiana

NILES, Mich. -

Winter weather is having its way with Michiana.

We are seeing treacherous driving conditions, cold weather related illnesses and power outages.

When all is said and done, Tuesday,  Michiana could see totals of four to six inches of lake effect snow, temperatures in the mid teens, and wind gusts topping 30 miles per hour.

A power outage on Niles south side is making driving conditions more challenging. 

The street lights at the intersection of M-51 and Fulkerson Road are down. And the Phillips 66 gas station on the corner is closed.

An employee posted a sign on the door saying “no power. Open after 4 pm?” 

The other major inconvenience of these cold temperatures is of course, coming down with an illness.

“Trying not to get a cold. I’m almost too warm at the moment,” Gary Tropp said as he shoveled snow.

At Lakeland Family Medicine, Doctor John Howard urges everyone out in the thick of it to stay safe.

“We have been hearing more reports of people coming in with early frost bite like concerns,” Dr. Howard explained.

He said frost bite and hypothermia are different illnesses, both dangerous and both potentially deadly if untreated.

Victims of frost bite will feel pain in their limbs.

Fingers and toes can turn white and eventually become numb.

If the situation worsens your body’s tissue can die.

Hypothermia happens when your core body temperature drops below 95 degrees.

The normal body temperature is 98.6.

Symptoms include shivering, slurred speech and decreased mental processing.

 “You could safely use a warming blanket or a heating blanket. And you want to make sure you’re putting that on the core of the body rather than the extremities,” said Dr. Howard.

Luckily he hasn’t seen these cases yet this season.

But other illnesses are increasing.

“This time of year we’re seeing a lot of viral upper respiratory illnesses. And so very important as we’re in close quarters with each other, is to always maintain good hand washing hygiene,” Howard warned.

So if you are heading out the door, remember to drive with caution and of course bundle up.

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