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Crews ready to battle icy roads

CALHOUN COUNTY, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Consumers Energy and emergency management officials have dozens of crews on standby, ready for what this storm could bring.

Rain on I-94 is washing away the salt on the roads, so once the temperatures drop, the county's emergency management director says to expect some ice, which will make travel very tricky.

An ice storm in from 2011 snapped large tree limbs like twigs. Consumers Energy officials know those can fall right onto power lines and create large outages.

Officials say drivers should try to stay off the roads Saturday night. They know this is a tall order to ask for with all the last-minute shoppers and holiday travelers.

A Consumers Energy spokesman says they have hundreds on call and staffed for the weekend. Ten extra road crews have been called into to cover the city of Battle Creek alone, to try and treat these icy roads with a salt-sand mixture.

Officials also have advice for homeowners who may find downed power lines in their neighborhood.

"Stay away, stay alive, at least 25 feet away from any downed wire. Assume that it's live. Let us come down and see if it's an electric wire or a telephone wire," says Roger Morgenstern of Consumers. "Don't take any chances. Stay clear of that and call 9-1-1."

Calhoun County emergency manager Durk Dunham says, "They should have access to food and water for at least a 72-hour period, and I would say the same for this. Now's a good chance, in the short window that we have, depending on when the temps do fall, to get some extra supplies to be ready for that."

Saturday marks the first day of winter.