By WCCO-TV Staff

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesotans are prepared for all types of weather and know how to deal with extremes of heat and cold. But Wednesday’s forecast of severe mid-December storms is a meteorological curveball, and Minnesotans should think ahead about the possibility of a winter power outage.

Strong winds are expected across southern and central Minnesota on Wednesday, and gusts up to 60 mph could blow away holiday decorations and knock over powerlines. In the evening, storms look to rumble over the southern half of the state, bringing the possibility of the first December tornado in Minnesota history.

RELATED: Download The WCCO Weather App | Live Radar | Weather Page

So before the storms roll in, consider preparations in the event of a power outage.

“While power outages in the summer are a pain in the neck because your AC doesn’t work, power outages in the winter are dangerous because you might lose heat,” said WCCO meteorologist Mike Augustyniak.

Credit: CBS

WCCO-TV’s meteorologists recommend that people have a supply of nonperishable food, drinking water and medications. Cell phones and other portable electronic devices should be fully charged. Flashlights should also be on hand, along with extra batteries. Candles are not recommended.

Find extra blankets for warmth and towels for sealing the bottoms of doors to keep in heat. Under no circumstances should homes be heated with a gas stove or oven. Similarly, portable generators should never be used indoors, not even in garages.

Augustyniak notes that Wednesday’s severe weather threat, including straight-line winds and isolated tornadoes, will occur after sundown, sweeping across southern Minnesota at a pace of 60-80 mph. He advises that Minnesotans discuss their safety plans with those they live with before the storms hit.

After the storms roll through, temperatures are expected to plummet below freezing. Communities in western Minnesota will likely see snow as the backend of the system moves over the state. The Twin Cities is expected to see a wintry mix Thursday morning and it’s possible ice could flash freeze on roads, making for hazardous driving conditions. Temperatures look to fall through the day Thursday, hitting the teens after dark.

To report a power outage to Xcel Energy, click here.