Staying safe in severe weather

Staying safe in severe weather

NEGAUNEE — It might seem a little early to be talking about summertime severe weather events here in the Upper Peninsula, but it’s never too early to start thinking about staying safe during big storms.

Sunday marks the beginning of Michigan’s Severe Weather Awareness Week, which is designed to help residents reacquaint themselves with the hazards and safety precautions associated with severe weather in the warmer months. Generally, tornadoes are among the most serious events — enough so that a statewide tornado drill will take place next Wednesday to help get citizens prepared. While tornadoes are uncommon in the Upper Peninsula, dangerous weather is not.

“Most of our severe weather comes from severe thunderstorms that typically have high winds, a lot of lightning, and very heavy rain and large hail,” said Matt Zika, a Meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Marquette. “So when severe thunderstorm warnings are issued, we want people to heed those and not just discount and think it’s not a big deal, because it isn’t a tornado warning.”

The National Weather Service issues alerts that can be accessed through various mobile apps as well as weather radios, which can be particularly useful for campers at parks across the state. Those who plan on enjoying the great outdoors are encouraged to take note of possible areas of shelter once they get to their campsite just in case a big storm comes through.