BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — Central Illinois is preparing for snow as winter storm watches are in effect for the area.

While the snowfall itself won’t be anything historic; 2-5 inches in Peoria and 3-6 inches in Bloomington-Normal, high winds will blow fallen snow making it impossible at times to travel.

McLean County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) director Cathy Beck has a simple message for Central Illinoisans as winter’s wrath looms.

“Stay home if you can. You don’t want to be out in this,” Beck said.

Beck said while the snowfall isn’t going to be major, herself and other emergency personnel are more concerned about the potential for blizzard-like conditions that will wreak havoc for anyone on the roadways.

“That’s actually what we’re expecting is the white out effect from the winds. Right now I’m seeing 50-55 mph gusts and even with a bit of snow, that’s going to blow around like a cyclone,” Beck said.

Beck said if someone does need to venture out, then be prepared in case they get stuck. She said to assemble a coffee can survival kit and place it in the glove compartment or other storage area of your car.

In a coffee can survival kit, one can put a candle for melting snow, packs of soup, hot chocolate and bouillon cubes as well as extra socks and gloves. More details on the kit can be found here.

“You can get really cold real fast with the wind chills and winds we’re going to expect and one of the really important things is stay with your vehicle, have some sort of marking tape or bright piece of cloth you can tie on your car,” Beck said.

As for cleanup after the storm, president of Nord Outdoor Power in Bloomington, Douglas Nord encourages customers to stock up now.

“Be proactive, get out and get your supplies now. we typically have a lot of people coming out in the middle of the storm,” Nord said.

Nord said he would recommend people consider investing in a snow blower rather than shoveling snow to save time and their health.

“There’s a lot of people who died shoveling snow. I grew up shoveling snow, but the first time I used a snow blower I realized how much work that could really save for an individual,” Nord said.

Nord said to buy fuel product from the stores that last years rather than buying in bulk from the pump.

“A lot of people would go to the gas station, but that fuel only generally lasts about 60-90 days. You can get a product like Aspen Fuel that will last for several years after you open it,” Nord said.