Tornado drill set for Wednesday as part of Michigan’s Severe Weather Awareness Week

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With Gov. Rick Snyder declaring this week as Michigan’s Severe Weather Awareness Week, the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division is calling upon Michigan residents to take action by participating in a voluntary statewide tornado drill at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, April 19.

Businesses, organizations, families, and individuals are encouraged to engage in this statewide preparedness activity, but are not required to do so. Nearly all state of Michigan facilities will participate.

“Tornadoes can develop rapidly, with little or no warning,” said Police Capt. Chris A. Kelenske. “Due to their unpredictable nature, we must be ready well in advance. We’re asking residents and businesses to take a few extra steps during the week to ensure they’re prepared.”

While tornadoes can occur during any time of the year, they are especially common during the late spring and early summer months. As one of nature’s most violent storms, they can devastate homes and property in just seconds.

The average lead time for tornadoes to develop is 10 to 15 minutes, which means citizens need to be ready to react quickly when a warning is issued.

To be ready for a tornado:

Identify the lowest place to take cover during a tornado. If a basement does not exist, find an interior hallway away from windows, doors, and outside walls.

Go under something sturdy—such as a workbench or stairwell—when taking shelter in the basement or designated spot.

Conduct regular tornado drills. Make sure each household member knows where to go and what to do in the event of a tornado.

Stay tuned to commercial radio or television broadcasts for news on changing weather conditions or approaching storms.

Know the difference: a Tornado Watch means conditions exist for a tornado to develop; a Tornado Warning means that a tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar.

Be aware of the following signs that can indicate an approaching tornado:
Dark, often greenish sky
Large hail
A large, dark low-lying cloud
Loud roar, similar to a freight train

Develop a 72-hour emergency supply kit with essential items such as a three-day supply of water and food, a NOAA Weather Radio, important family documents and items that satisfy unique family needs.

In the event of severe weather on April 19, the statewide tornado drill will be rescheduled for 1 p.m. on Thursday, April 20.

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