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Michigan’s Statewide Tornado Drill Set for Wednesday

The drill gives residents the opportunity to make a tornado plan and test it, which is key to preparedness. Tornadoes provide an average lead time of 10 to 15 minutes, requiring quick action.

Michigan State University entrance sign
Shutterstock/University of College
(TNS) - A voluntary statewide tornado drill is scheduled for 1 p.m. Wednesday , and officials are encouraging residents to participate and be prepared.

The drill comes in the middle of Michigan’s Severe Weather Awareness Week, March 17 to 23. Michigan State Police’s Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division is organizing the drill.

On average, the state has 15 tornadoes each year; during August 2023, seven touched down in one day.

“The ( August 2023 ) tornadoes caused millions of dollars in damage and, unfortunately, two people lost their lives,” said Capt. Kevin Sweeney, deputy state director of Emergency Management and commander of the MSP/EMHSD. “As recovery efforts are still underway, it serves as an important reminder to take steps now to prepare and create a plan to protect your family, your home and your pets.”

The drill gives residents an opportunity to make a tornado plan and put it to the test, he said. The average lead time for tornadoes to develop is 10 to 15 minutes, requiring quick action to get to safety.

Businesses, organizations, families, and individuals are encouraged to participate. During the tornado drill, TV and radio stations may issue alerts, and local emergency management agencies may sound outdoor sirens.

Contact your local emergency management agency to learn how local alerts are administrated in your community and if your community is participating.

Here are some tips on how to be ready for a tornado:

  • Know the difference: a tornado WATCH means conditions exist for a tornado to develop; a tornado WARNING means a tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar.
  • Know the signs of an approaching tornado: dark, often greenish sky; large hail; a large, dark low-lying cloud; and a loud roar, like a freight train.
  • Stay tuned to commercial radio or television broadcasts for news on changing weather conditions or approaching storms.
  • Develop an emergency preparedness kit with essential items such as a three-day water and food supply, a NOAA Weather Radio, important family documents, and items that satisfy unique family needs.
  • Identify a safe place in your home for household members and pets to gather during a tornado.
  • Make sure everyone understands the tornado warning system in your area.

Click here or more information about being safe before, during and after a tornado.

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