Getting prepared for the statewide tornado drill on March 27th

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Severe weather can develop rapidly the average lead time for a tornado warning is only 10 to 15 minutes.

To encourage residents to learn about the precautions to take during severe weather, Governor Gretchen Whitmer has proclaimed March 24-30 as Severe Weather Awareness Week in Michigan.

While severe weather can occur during any time of the year, tornadoes are especially common in Michigan during the late spring and early summer months. Local and state emergency management officials are asking Michiganders to participate in a statewide tornado drill at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, March 27 to test your readiness.

Before a tornado identify safe rooms or the best available refuge and build an emergency kit as well as make a family communications plan. Always listen to television newscasts for the latest information and be alert to changing weather conditions like dark greenish skies, hail, low-lying clouds, or a loud roar (similar to a freight train).

During a tornado, seek shelter immediately and remember to protect your head because most injuries associated with high winds are from flying debris. Never try to outrun a tornado in urban or congested areas in a car or truck. The best protection is a sturdy building, but a low and flat location is safer than an overpass or bridge.

After a tornado, watch out for debris and downed power lines. Do not attempt to remove heavy debris and wear protective clothing including including a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, work gloves, and sturdy, thick-soled shoes. If the power is out, use flashlights or battery-powered lanterns rather than candles to prevent accidental fires.

For more information about what to do before, during and after an emergency or disaster, visit www.mi.gov/miready.

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