Severe weather awareness week April 6-12
We don’t see a lot of tornadoes in our area, but they do happen in Michigan. It was on Palm Sunday, 49 years ago, April 11, 1965, that 47 tornadoes broke out in several Midwest states—including here in Kent County—killing and injuring hundreds of people.
That F4 tornado traveled over 20 miles north of Grand Rapids and caused five deaths and injured almost 150 people. Thirty-four homes were destroyed and nearly 200 others damaged near the northern suburbs of Comstock Park and Alpine. Damage amounts were estimated at almost $15 million.
Are you ready if another strikes? This week, April 6-12, is severe weather awareness week. And the Michigan State Police are asking residents to ensure their safety and reduce damage by practicing emergency preparedness and response procedures for all types of severe weather.
“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 tornados. By taking the initiative and preparing today, you and your family will be ready when an emergency or disaster happens.”
Tornadoes, floods, thunder and lightning storms and extreme heat are can occur at any time. Spring and summer brings 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.
Once again Michigan residents were reminded in 2013 that severe weather can strike at any time. While most Michigan tornadoes occur from May to August during the afternoon and evening hours, a November 2013 severe weather outbreak hit Michigan with three reported tornadoes.
According to the National Weather Service (NWS), there were two deaths and two injuries in Michigan from severe weather in 2013. The injuries resulted from severe thunderstorm winds. Flooding, severe thunderstorms, and tornadoes were responsible for about $277 million in damages in 2013, compared to $210 million in damages in 2012.
In 2013, southeast Michigan had an above average severe weather season while the rest of the state recorded well below average activity. The state experienced less significant severe weather events in 2013 compared to 2012, but there were more days of severe weather, especially for southeast Michigan.
Even with the sporadic activity, the severe weather in Michigan still took a substantial toll on the state.
In 2013, there were 12 tornadoes across the state, which is just below the average of 15. There were three separate events when the 12 tornadoes occurred. Six of the 12 tornadoes developed between Lansing and Flint on May 28, two tornadoes developed around midnight in Livingston County on August 28-29, and the last three developed with the severe weather outbreak of November 17. The strongest tornadoes were rated EF2 and hit areas just north of Fenton and near Goodrich on May 28.
To find out what you should do to prepare for, or what to do during and after a severe weather event, visit our website at www.cedarspringspost.com and click on Severe weather awareness week. Or go to www.michigan.gov/beprepared.