State-wide tornado drill April 11.

April 4, 2018

State-wide tornado drill April 11.


HART — Although the weather right now certainly doesn’t look very “spring-like,” spring is on its way. And spring time often brings severe weather to West Michigan.

With Gov. Rick Snyder declaring April 8-14 Michigan’s Severe Weather Awareness Week, Oceana County Emergency Management is calling upon community members take action and prepare by participating in a statewide tornado drill Wednesday, April 11, at 1 p.m.

Businesses, organizations, families and individuals are encouraged to be a part of the voluntary statewide preparedness activity. Nearly all state facilities will be participating.

“Tornadoes can develop rapidly, with little or no warning,” said James Duram, Oceana County Emergency Coordinator. “Due to their unpredictable nature, we must be ready well in advance. We’re asking residents and businesses to take a few extra steps during the week to ensure they’re prepared and safe.”

While tornadoes can occur during any time of the year, they are especially common during the late spring and early summer months. As one of nature’s most violent storms, they can devastate homes and property in just seconds.

The average lead time for tornadoes to develop is 10-15 minutes, which means residents need to be ready to react quickly when a warning is issued.

To be ready for a tornado:

• Identify the lowest place to take cover during a tornado. If a basement does not exist, find an interior hallway away from windows, doors and outside walls.

• Go under something sturdy—such as a workbench or stairwell—when taking shelter in the basement or designated spot.

• Conduct regular tornado drills. Make sure each household member knows where to go and what to do in the event of a tornado.

• Stay tuned to commercial radio or television broadcasts or online news services for news on changing weather conditions or approaching storms.

• Know the difference: a tornado watch means conditions exist for a tornado to develop; a tornado warning means that a tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar.

• Be aware of the following signs that can indicate an approaching tornado:
– Dark, often greenish sky;
– Large hail;
– A large, dark low-lying cloud;
– Loud roar, similar to a freight train.

• Develop a 72-hour emergency supply kit with essential items such as a three-day supply of water and food, a NOAA Weather Radio, and important family documents.

Severe Weather Awareness Week is sponsored by the Michigan State Police and the Michigan Committee for Severe Weather Awareness (MCSWA) to educate the public about the danger 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, visit

For more information about being safe before, during and after a tornado, go to

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