Governor Rick Snyder has declared the week of April 7 as Severe Weather Awareness Week encouraging citizens to take steps to prepare and protect themselves before severe weather strikes. Tornadoes, floods, thunder and lightning storms and extreme heat are weather conditions that typically affect the state and can occur at any time. Citizens can ensure their safety and reduce damage by practicing emergency preparedness and response procedures for all types of severe weather.
Spring and summer frequently bring fast-changing weather conditions increasing the potential for severe weather. Steps can be taken to prepare before severe weather strikes to minimize damage and ensure safe evacuation or shelter such as understanding severe weather warnings and terms, preparing an emergency supply kit, creating an emergency plan and creating an emergency contact list.
In 2012, Michigan residents experienced a significant amount of severe weather events including six tornadoes and 15 flooding events that resulted in two deaths and four injuries to Michigan residents and caused over $210 million in damage statewide. The Dexter tornado alone, with winds that reached 140 mph, destroyed four homes and damaged over 200 businesses. In July, severe weather combined with excessive heat left over 300,000 people without power.
“Unpredictable weather is a common threat to Michigan residents during the spring and summer months,” said Capt. Chris Kelenske, commander of the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP/EMHSD). “It is important to be prepared and have a plan in place before severe weather occurs. By taking a few steps now, you can be better prepared and assist in saving lives.”
Severe Weather Safety Tips:
- Prepare an emergency kit that contains food, drinking water, maps, sanitation items, family documents, prescription medications, flashlights and extra batteries.
- Have a battery powered NOAA Weather Radio easily accessible to listen for Evacuation Orders, updates and severe weather warnings.
- Talk to your family about possible severe weather hazards, have a plan to communicate, know where to shelter and know the evacuation routes.
- Know the risks of severe weather before you go to bed, have your emergency supplies easily accessible in case severe weather occurs at night.
- Store important documents and materials in a waterproof container that is easily accessible in case of flooding.
For additional severe weather safety tips, visit www.michigan.gov/emhsd.