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Tag Archive | "Severe Weather Awareness"

Tornado confirmed in Kent/Ionia Counties


This covered bridge at Tyler Creek in Bowne Township sustained damage from Monday night’s tornado. It was built in 1955. Photo from Woodtv.com.

This covered bridge at Tyler Creek in Bowne Township sustained damage from Monday night’s tornado. It was built in 1955. Photo from Woodtv.com.

By Judy Reed

Tornado sirens sounded here in Cedar Springs and all across Kent County Monday evening, April 10, as severe thunderstorms rolled through.

N-Tornado2-pathThe National Weather Service in Grand Rapids confirmed that a brief EF-1 tornado formed and touched down in southeast Kent County about 8:36 p.m. and traveled about five miles into.

According to the NWS report: “Dozens of large trees were snapped or uprooted and three barns were heavily damaged. The damage began on 100th St just east of Alden Nash Ave and then continued to the east-northeast, crossing Wingeier Ave where a barn lost metal roofing. One metal section was carried 0.6 miles by the tornado and landed in a field. The tornado damage intensified as the funnel narrowed and crossed 92nd St in the vicinity of the Tyler Creek Golf Course, where a swath of trees were snapped and uprooted. Peak winds in this area were estimated at 90 mph. The tornado crossed Freeport Ave and Keim Road. It then crossed Hastings Road with peak winds estimated around 65 mph, taking down large tree limbs. The damage ended around Bell Road north of Keim Road.”

The tornado lasted about five minutes. It was the first tornado in Kent County this year. Last year there were two.

Next week (April 16-22) is Severe Weather Awareness Week, and according to Michigan’s Committee for Severe Weather Awareness, there were 16 tornadoes across Michigan in 2016. Michigan averages about 15 each year. Six of the 16 tornadoes occurred across the Upper Peninsula, a record for that peninsula. All of the tornadoes in Michigan were in the weak categories of EF0 and EF1 (tornadoes are rated from the weakest EF0 to the strongest EF5).

The August 20, 2016 tornado outbreak across southwest Lower Michigan was the most damaging and significant event across the state in 2016. Six tornadoes touched down from Bangor to Grand Rapids to Orleans, causing over $5 million in damages. The longest and strongest of the August 20 tornadoes touched down just southwest of Bangor and then tracked through the town. The 10-mile long EF-1 winds estimated up to 110 mph, caused the entire city to lose power and downed hundreds of trees. Multiple structures in Bangor were damaged, including the police department. The outbreak also produced two EF0 tornadoes in the metro Grand Rapids area. The first hit Grandville and Wyoming, and the second was in Grand Rapids. Both of these tornadoes downed trees, some onto homes.

Kent County has seen 35 tornadoes from 1950-2016, the second highest number of tornadoes in the state. Genesee leads with 45 tornadoes during that same time frame, and Kent is followed by Monroe County with 34, and Allegan with 33.

“Severe Weather Awareness Week is the time of year to learn what to do before, during and after severe weather occurs,” 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.

To learn more about severe weather in Michigan and what you should do, download the Severe Weather Awareness packet at https://www.michigan.gov/documents/msp/SWApacket_554981_7.pdf.

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Michigan Severe Weather Awareness Week


Tornadoes can develop in just 10-15 minutes. Be sure you a severe weather plan in case one develops. This photo shows an F5 Tornado approaching Elie, Manitoba on June 22, 2007. Photo by Justin1569 at en.wikipedia

Tornadoes can develop in just 10-15 minutes. Be sure you a severe weather plan in case one develops. This photo shows an F5 Tornado approaching Elie, Manitoba on June 22, 2007. Photo by Justin1569 at en.wikipedia

Tornado siren testing the first Friday of each month

From the Kent County Sheriff Department

Last year, storms and severe weather injured seven people and left $130 million in damage across the State of Michigan. Kent County has a system of sirens meant to alert residents of high winds or tornadoes. Starting last Friday, April 1 and continuing on the first Friday of every month at 12:00 noon, through October, you should hear tornado alarm testing in your Kent County home or business. If you don’t hear the sirens at noon, please contact your local township or city office.

Be vigilant whenever severe weather is in the forecast. While no location is completely safe from a tornado or severe thunderstorm, it is important to seek all possible protection. April 10-16 is Michigan Severe Weather Awareness Week. “This is a great time to review your severe weather plan, refresh your supplies and make sure you are prepared,” said Jack Stewart, Kent County Emergency Management Coordinator. “Check your flashlight and stock up on fresh batteries. Homes should have enough fresh drinking water for three days, canned food items and a can opener, an all-weather radio, and a first aid kit.”

Plan in advance for disasters to know how you and your family will get to a safe place, how to contact each other and what to do in different situations. Determine a location where you would meet in an emergency, both near your house and further away, in case your neighborhood streets are closed. If a disaster occurs, it may be easier to make a phone call to a designated out-of-town contact, as phone lines may be overwhelmed. Make sure that person is aware that he or she is the designated contact. You should have a disaster plan for your pets as well.

Many smartphone apps can keep you notified of weather watches and warnings. Severe weather watch means the potential exists for the development of storms/tornados. You can continue your normal activities, but be mindful of changing conditions. Severe weather warning mean that storms are imminent

or occurring. Move indoors to a place of safety. If it is a Tornado Warning, take shelter in a location on the lowest level of the building, like the basement, or in a small, windowless room at the innermost part of the building.

Let us know about the sirens in your community: take our survey at http://vrm.cc/kcsirens.

To learn more about Michigan Severe Weather Awareness Week 2016 and what to do in an emergency, download the packet: Severe weather awareness.

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Early snowstorm slams West Michigan


Blowing snow, wind chills in the single digits and icy roads put the area in a deep freeze, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, causing hundreds of schools to close and many drivers to slide off the road.

Heavy lake effect snow piled up across the area, with most areas getting somewhere around a foot. According to WOOD-TV8, Tuesday’s high temperature of 19 degrees was the coldest high temperature ever recorded for that date in Grand Rapids. That’s 27 degrees below average. At this same time last year, on November 17, we had severe weather that even spawned tornadoes across the state.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Kent County was under another winter weather advisory until early Friday morning, with another 6-8 inches of snow expected. By Saturday and Sunday, temps are expected to climb above freezing again.

Now that winter seems to be here, Kent County Emergency Management reminds everyone to pay attention to weather conditions before heading out the door. Give yourself a few extra minutes to arrive on time.

The cold can cause problems for many, especially people with pre-existing medical conditions, young children, and seniors. “Be a good friend or neighbor. Check on those who are elderly or have a medical condition,” says Jack Stewart, Kent County Emergency Management Coordinator. “Making a daily call or visit part of your routine could really help someone in need.”

If you haven’t shut off water to your outdoor spigots yet, do it now. Make sure you have emergency kits in your car and home this winter. The Michigan Committee for Severe Weather Awareness recommends you keep the following items in your home: Battery-powered flashlight, Batteries, Weather and/or portable radio, Extra food (canned or dried food is best) and a can opener, Bottled water (at least 3 gallons per person), First aid kit.

“If you lose power in your home and use a generator, be sure that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning,” Stewart says. “Also know the hazards if you need an emergency heating source, like a space heater.” Keep emergency supplies in your car as well. A small battery powered radio and extra batteries, a cell phone, and a blanket should always be kept within reach.

This early in the season, pets may be more vulnerable to the cold. Keep pets indoors as much as possible. The smaller the pet, the quicker the cold impacts them. Puppies and kittens are especially sensitive to the cold, as are older pets. Watch out for community cats that might crawl under the hood of your car to keep warm. Bang loudly on the hood before starting the car, and never leave pets in a car during the winter. Temperatures can be just as cold inside the car as they are outdoors.

More tips on winter preparedness from the Michigan Committee for Severe Weather Awareness can be found at: www.mcswa.com/Winter-Hazards.html.

 

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