The Michigan State Police is reminding residents that outdoor warning siren use will be limited during the voluntary Statewide Tornado Drill scheduled for 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 27th.
In Michigan, outdoor warning sirens are independently controlled by local officials which may prevent some communities from activating their sirens during the drill.
“Outdoor warning sirens are designed to alert residents who are outdoors about an approaching threat,” said Capt. Emmitt McGowan, deputy state director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security.
During the statewide tornado drill residents can observe and hear alerts on local TV stations.
Michigan’s Severe Weather Awareness Week which was proclaimed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer started Sunday March 24th. The statewide tornado drill is a part of a seasonal effort to encourage Michigan residents to prepare and practice emergency plans.
“While tornadoes can happen any time of the year, they are especially common in late spring and early summer,” said Capt. McGowan. “This drill is an opportunity for residents to make a plan and test it as if this were a real event. Plan now and you’ll be better prepared when a disaster happens.”
Businesses, organizations, families and individuals are encouraged to engage in this statewide preparedness activity but are not required to do so.
Develop an emergency preparedness kit with essential items such as a three-day supply of water, food, important family documents and items that satisfy unique family needs like medication or pet food. Make sure each household member knows where to go and what to do in the event of a tornado. Stay tuned to television broadcasts for news on changing weather conditions or approaching storms.
The signs of an approaching tornado are dark and often greenish skies, large hail, loud roars that sound like a freight train, or large and dark low-lying clouds.
“Spring and summer can bring fast-changing weather conditions that increase the potential for severe weather,” said Capt. McGowan. “By taking steps to prepare before severe weather strikes, you can lessen the impacts a disaster could have on yourself, your family and your property.”
A Tornado Watch means conditions exist for a tornado to develop while a Tornado Warning means a tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. The average lead time for tornadoes to develop is 10 to 15 minutes, which means residents need to be ready to react quickly when a warning is issued.