Michiganders encouraged to prepare before severe weather

With Gov. Rick Snyder proclaiming April 10-16 as Severe Weather Awareness Week, the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP/EMHSD) is encouraging Michiganders to prepare before severe weather strikes this spring and summer.

"Severe Weather Awareness Week is the time of year to learn what to do before, .during and after severe weather hazards," said Capt. Chris A. Kelenske, deputy state director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and commander of the MSP/EMHSD. "That includes flooding, thunderstorms and tornadoes. By taking the initiative and learning about possible hazards, you and your family will be better prepared when an emergency or disaster happens."

Spring and summer frequently bring fast-changing weather conditions that increase 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, making an emergency plan and creating an emergency contact list.

Last year, the state of Michigan experienced a tornado in Ionia County and severe thunderstorms in Grand Traverse and Leelanau co.unties, resulting in disaster declarations due to severe and widespread damage.

To recognize Severe Weather Awareness Week and honor the winners of this year's Severe Weather Awareness Poster Contest, the MSP/EMHSD and other members of the Michigan Committee for Severe Weather Awareness (MCSWA) will hold a special ceremony today in the glass floor rotunda of the Michigan State Capitol. Poster entries were received from fourth and fifth graders statewide.

A voluntary statewide tornado drill is scheduled to occur at 1:30 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, April 13. Businesses, organizations, families and individuals are encouraged to participate in the statewide preparedness activity, but are not required to do so. Nearly all state of Michigan facilities will be participating.

In the event of severe weather on April 13, the tornado drill will be rescheduled for 1:30 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, April 14.

Severe Weather Awareness Week is sponsored by the MSP/EMHSD and MCSWA to educate the public about the dangers of tornadoes and other severe weather events, including the precautions that can be taken to save lives and protect families. The MCSWA was formed in 1991 to encourage Michigan residents to be prepared in the event of severe weather. To learn more about the committee, go to www.rncswa.com.

For more information about what to do before, during and after an emergency or disaster, go to www.michigan.gov/miready or follow the MSP/EMHSD on Twitter at @MichEMHS. Be a part of the severe weather awareness conversation by using the hashtags #miseverewxweek and #mitornadoready.

Published: Tue, Apr 12, 2016