Winter storm settles in over Mason City

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(ABC 6 News) – As a blizzard settles across the Midwest, officials in northern Iowa are getting prepared for whatever this storm brings.

Mason City Police Department says to prepare as conditions worsen, it ensures that all vehicles in its fleet are filled with gas and are working properly.

There are also four squad cars and one supervisor working 24 hours a day and are available to help people when needed.

While officers are doing their best to prepare, they say it’s best to remain indoors and not risk venturing outside if you can help it.

“As the sun goes down, conditions are going to deteriorate outside based on the predictions. So, if you don’t have to go somewhere, just don’t put yourself at risk because then that keeps you from having to put us at risk or the fire department or a tow truck driver, those types of things,” explained Chief Jeff Brinkley, with MCPD.

As the storm worsens, roads may be shut down, but it could be for more reasons than just weather conditions.

“Vehicles are stuck, and we can’t get them off safely or there are crashes, that end up blocking the road and we can’t clear the crashes safely so it’s not just the conditions, it’s what happens with crashes and people being stuck,” Iowa DOT Field Services Coordinator Peter Hjelmstad said.

Even if you stay off the roads, this storm also means you need to keep a close eye on your homes.

As temps dwindle, those with space heaters need to ensure that they are plugged directly into the wall, not on a power strip and that there is nothing near it that could catch fire.

“When we see these cold temperatures you know people want to stay warm obviously and that’s very important, but in these cold temps it provides a lot of opportunities for people to make poor decisions and potentially put their families in danger,” Mason City administrator Aaron Burnett said.