MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – Tornadoes, floods, damaging winds, and more, now that it’s spring, it’s time to start preparing for severe weather.
On March 22nd across the State of Michigan, there was a statewide tornado drill where emergency alerts were tested and the National Weather Service of Marquette conducted a test to check the alert system on NOAA Weather Radio.
Severe weather usually doesn’t affect Michigan’s Upper Peninsula until the summer time, however this week is Severe Weather Awareness Week and there is no better time to prepare for disaster than the present. Although we don’t see too many tornadoes in the U.P., other forms of severe weather can be just as dangerous.
“A lot of times when we have these awareness campaigns the focus is actually on tornadoes, and while tornadoes do happen in the U.P. they are relatively rare,” said Matt Zika, a Meteorologist at the National Weather Service of Marquette. “We average maybe one per year and when they do occur, they are on the weak end of the scale so they still can do damage but we are not talking Oklahoma esc type tornadoes. Instead our focus should be more on the other hazards that come along with thunderstorms, from the flash flooding that they can produce, widespread straight line wind damage, that does a lot more of the significant wind damage across the U.P. throughout the summertime. And then even lightning is a significant issue as well. Anytime you’re hearing thunder, you’re close enough to be struck by lightning. So, our focus should be more in that realm of things rather than focusing things solely on tornadoes and preparing for tornado damage.”
We most commonly see these severe weather events during the months of June, July, and August, but it is never too early to start preparing. At this point of the year you can start putting together a plan for what you can do if you were to be affected by severe weather. You can plan where to shelter in your house, on the lowest level in the most interior room of your home, and also you can put together an emergency kit for your home that includes flashlights, batteries, a battery powered weather radio, and other important emergency items.
“So, it’s simply thinking if a warning is issued, where are you going to go seek shelter, having access to weather apps on your phone that will alert you when warnings are issued and then when we get closer to summer if you’re planning a trip somewhere, being weather aware,” said Zika. “Paying attention to the forecast and if we’re talking about severe weather a couple of days ahead of time, making sure then that you have ways to receive more information when you’re out and about doing whatever you’re doing.”
If you would like to know more about Severe Weather Awareness week or if you’d like to find more detailed lists of emergency kit items and severe weather preparation materials given through the State of Michigan, you can find those here.
The National Weather Service also offers weather preparedness materials here.
You can find your up to date local forecast and our Local 3 Weather Livestream here.