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Michigan is preparing for a tornado today (it's just a drill)

Apr 13, 2016

Across Michigan, sirens will wail this afternoon

A woman walks by a stop sign bent from the tornado that hit Dexter, Michigan in March 2012.
Credit Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

This is Severe Weather Awareness Week in Michigan.

This afternoon at 1:30, there will be a voluntary statewide tornado drill.

“Tornadoes can develop rapidly, with little or no warning,” says Capt. Chris Kelenske of the Michigan State Police, who is the deputy state director of emergency management and Homeland Security. 

 

Nearly all state government buildings will be conducting preparedness drills. Schools, businesses and other groups are also expected to practice what to do in the event of a tornado, which usually means getting quickly to a basement or a centrally located safe space.

Here are few tips on how to prepare for severe weather:

  • 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.

April might seem a little early for a tornado drill. But April, May and June have seen the deadliest tornadoes in Michigan history, although it is also true that tornadoes can take place at any time of year.