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Tag Archive | "severe weather"

Severe weather knocks out power, spawns tornado


Mary Lou Fuller, of Solon Township, sent us photos of a double rainbow that appeared after Sunday’s storm behind Cedar Springs Middle School.

Mary Lou Fuller, of Solon Township, sent us photos of a double rainbow that appeared after Sunday’s storm behind Cedar Springs Middle School.

 

N-storm-Rainbow1-nov-2013-011The Michigan State Police are reminding people to use caution as clean-up efforts are underway following the fast-moving storm that traveled through the region Sunday leaving power outages, fallen trees and wind damage.

Damage was lighter in our area than in the southern part of the state, although many homes here suffered power outages.

Damage assessments are still being completed, but two fatalities and one serious injury have been confirmed in the state. Of those incidents, a 21-year-old Jackson County man was killed when a tree fell on his car; a 59-year-old Shiawassee County man was killed when he was electrocuted; and a 14-year-old Wayne County boy is in critical condition after being electrocuted.

The National Weather Service has confirmed EF-0 tornadoes in Cass, Otsego and Ingham counties, as well as one that touched down in several locations from Muskegon to Newaygo counties. EF-0 tornadoes are capable of producing winds from 65 to 85 mph.

As of 1:30 p.m. yesterday, more than 235,000 homes were still without power statewide. Personnel from the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP/EMHSD) continue to monitor weather conditions and remain in contact with local emergency management personnel to provide assistance as needed.

Clare Armstrong, of Sand Lake, sent us this photo of a swingset blown across her yard.

Clare Armstrong, of Sand Lake, sent us this photo of a swingset blown across her yard.

“During Sunday’s storm, many communities across the state experienced some degree of property damage, downed trees and power outages,” said Capt. Chris A. Kelenske, Deputy State Director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and commander of the MSP/EMHSD. “The protection of public health and safety is our primary concern.”

As cleanup continues, it is important for citizens to be aware of the dangers they may face in the aftermath of the storm.  Below are some general safety precautions:

·         Do not touch downed power lines or objects in contact with downed lines. Report electrical hazards to the police and the utility company.

• Use battery-powered lanterns, if possible, rather than candles to light homes without electrical power. If you use candles, make sure they are in safe holders away from curtains, paper, wood or other flammable items. Never leave a candle burning when you are out of the room.

• Avoid actions that can result in dangerous levels of carbon monoxide:

Do not use a grill indoors.

Do not use an unvented gas or kerosene heater.

Do not use a generator in the house or garage.

Do not use an oven or stove to heat your home.

• Use extreme caution when driving. If traffic signals are out, treat each signal as a stop sign. Come to a complete stop at every intersection and look before you proceed.

• Avoid standing water, flooded roadways and flooded riverbanks. Remember: “Turn around, don’t drown.”

• Be careful when entering any structure that has been damaged.

• Wear sturdy shoes or boots, long sleeves and gloves when handling or walking on or near debris. Be aware of hazards from exposed nails and broken glass.

Anyone needing assistance should contact their local emergency management agency or call 2-1-1.

Personnel with the MSP/EMHSD will continue to monitor the situation and take prudent action should conditions warrant.

“Michigan’s No. 1 threat is severe weather and these storms serve as a reminder of the importance of being prepared, especially as winter approaches,” Kelenske said. “A prepared Michigan is a resilient Michigan, which includes having an emergency plan and basic supply kit in every household.”

For more preparedness tips about what to do before, during and after a storm or power outage, visit www.michigan.gov/beprepared or www.twitter.com/MichEMHS.

 

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Are you prepared for severe weather?


This double tornado was one of 47 tornadoes that occurred on Palm Sunday, April 11, 1965 and affected several states in the Midwest, including Michigan. This particular tornado hit the Midway Trailer park in Indiana, killing 33 people.

April 15-21 is severe weather awareness week

 

Wednesday (yesterday) was the 47th anniversary of the April 11, 1965 Palm Sunday tornadoes—the second deadliest tornado outbreak in history. There were 47 tornadoes in five states, including 12 tornadoes in Michigan. The F4 that moved through Ottawa County and northern Kent County went for 21 miles, caused 142 injuries, and 5 deaths. Counting all five states, there were 271 fatalities and 1,500 were injured that day.

Following that particular tornado outbreak, the NOAA National Weather Service underwent changes to improve severe weather forecasts and warnings, including establishing the Watch and Warning Program that exists today and the weather spotter program, SKYWARN.

Next week, April 15-21, is severe weather awareness week, and the Michigan Committee for Severe Weather Awareness wants to make sure residents are prepared for possible severe weather, including tornadoes, lighting, flooding, or thunderstorm winds.

According to the National Weather Service, there were four deaths and 31 injuries in Michigan from severe weather in 2011. All of the deaths and injuries resulted from either lightning or thunderstorm winds. Flooding, severe thunderstorms and tornadoes were responsible for about $150 million in damages in 2011, down from the $360 million in damages in 2010.

In 2011, there were 15 tornadoes across the state, which is very close to the average of 16. Fortunately, only four of the 15 tornadoes in 2011 caused significant damage, and six of the 15 tornadoes didn’t cause any damage. It could be argued that prior to the proliferation of cameras over the past couple of decades that those six non-damaging tornadoes may have never been recorded.

Lightning was also an issue. A family was on a tubing outing on the Au Sable River on July 23 when a thunderstorm rapidly developed, and they attempted to exit the river and find shelter. They had just exited the river when three of the individuals were struck by lightning. Two women were pronounced dead at the scene. A man was transported to a hospital in Saginaw in critical condition. He would survive, but require a 10-day hospital stay and considerable physical therapy. The survivor had no recollection of the incident.

What should you do in case of severe weather?

When a thunderstorm warning is issued for your area, get indoors immediately and do not use the telephone or electrical appliances. Keep away from windows. Do not take shelter in sheds or under isolated trees. If you are out boating and swimming, get to land and find a sturdy shelter immediately.

A tornado warning means that a tornado has been spotted or is indicated on Doppler radar. Go immediately to the basement or a small interior room on the lowest level of a permanent structure. A good rule of thumb is to put as many walls between you and the tornado as possible. Keep away from chimneys and windows. Broken glass and wind-blown projectiles cause more injuries and deaths than collapsed buildings. Protect your head with a pillow, blanket, or mattress. Leave mobile homes and find shelter in a sturdy building.

To prepare for severe weather, the Michigan Committee for Severe Weather Awareness suggests that you:

* Plan ahead. Be sure everyone in your household knows where to go and what to do in case of severe weather. Make plans for those who may have trouble getting to shelter.

* Have emergency supplies on hand, including a battery-operated radio, a flashlight and a fresh supply of batteries.

* Know the shelter locations in public buildings, such as work, schools and shopping centers.

* Make a list of household furnishings and other items.  Take photographs of each room. Store the list and photos in safe place.

* Have an emergency communication plan.  Know how to reach family and friends if you are unable to meet at home.

* Create an emergency plan for your pets.

Click here to find out facts on tornadoes, lightning and flood safety, and tips to prepare a plan to evacuate your pet

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Keep an eye to the sky


This is a photo of the Willow, Michigan tornado near Detroit in June, 2010.

April showers might bring May flowers, but they are also a sign that another severe weather season is here. Residents should remember to keep an eye to the sky when attending outdoor events.

“With hundreds of fun outdoor activities each year throughout Michigan, it is important to know what do if you are outside and severe weather strikes,” said Rich Pollman, Chair of the Michigan Committee for Severe Weather Committee.

* Remember the following when you are attending outside events:

* Check the weather forecast before leaving your house.

* When you arrive check around for the nearest shelter.

* Seek shelter when you first hear thunder, see dark threatening clouds developing overhead or lightning.  Count the seconds between the time you see lightning and hear the thunder.  You should already be in a safe location if that time is less than 30 seconds.

* If you can’t find a shelter, get into a fully enclosed vehicle. Put your head down below the windows, covering it with your hands or blanket.

* Stay inside until 30 minutes after you last hear thunder. Lightning can strike more than 10 miles away from any rainfall.

To assist those planning outdoor events, the Michigan Committee for Severe Weather Awareness has developed a brochure to help develop an emergency plan those organizing farmers’ markets, fairs and concerts. It is available on the website, www.mcswa.com.

In 2010, tornadoes and thunderstorms resulted in one death, 22 injuries and $360 million in damages in Michigan.  Flooding caused another $7 in damages.

It is important for Michiganians to be familiar with severe weather alerts.  A tornado watch or severe thunderstorm watch simply means that severe thunderstorms and tornadoes are possible.  Residents should gather a first aid kit, flashlight and portable radio or their emergency supply kit.  They should monitor the weather through local television, radio or NOAA weather radio.

A tornado warning means that a tornado has been sighted or is indicated on Doppler Radar.  Go immediately to the basement or a small interior room on the lowest level.  Keep away from chimneys and windows.  Leave mobile homes and find shelter in a sturdy building.

When a thunderstorm warning is issued for your area, get indoors immediately and do not use the telephone or electrical appliances. Keep away from windows.  Do not take shelter in sheds or under isolated trees. If you are out boating and swimming, get to land and find a sturdy shelter immediately.

To prepare for severe weather, the Michigan Committee for Severe Weather Awareness suggests that you:

* Plan ahead. Be sure everyone in your household knows where to go and what to do in case of severe weather.  Make plans for those who may have trouble getting to shelter.

* Have emergency supplies on hand, including a battery-operated radio, a flashlight and a fresh supply of batteries.

* Know the shelter locations in public buildings, such as work, schools and shopping centers.

* Make a list of household furnishings and other items.  Take photographs of each room.  Store the list and photos in safe place.

* Have an emergency communication plan.  Know how to reach family and friends if you are unable to meet at home.

* Create an emergency plan for your pets.

See below for more safety tips, or visit the Michigan Committee for Severe Weather Awareness website at www.mcswa.com. The Committee is also on Facebook.

SevereWeatherPacket

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Storm damages White Pine Trail


Photos courtesy of Karen Salyer and Dan Romej.

Photo courtesy of Karen Salyer and Dan Romej.

According to Dave Heyboer, president of the Friends of the White Pine Trail, the storms did extensive damage to the trail between Belmont and Rockford. “There are three  washouts and a major mudslide that is completely blocking the trail,” Heyboer wrote Wednesday. “A whole section of a hill slid down and covered the trail. One of the washouts is very extensive and caused a section of the trail to drop into a newly created gorge. The washout has undercut the trail and created a very unstable foundation.”

Photo courtesy of Karen Salyer and Dan Romej.

Larry Solce, park manager at Mitchell State Park in Cadillac, overseer of the White Pine Trail, was expected to inspect the damage Wednesday.

Heyboer said that due to the degree of damage that section of the trail is closed and will probably be closed for an extended period of time. “Heavy equipment and lots of dirt will have to be brought in to repair the destruction,” he explained. “I encourage all of you to stay away from that section of the trail. You can still use the trail by starting at Belmont and going south or starting at Rockford and going north. The section that was damaged is unstable and dangerous and should be avoided completely.”

The Post will keep readers updated as repairs are made.

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Dealing with a tornado or thunderstorm


Plan ahead.  Be sure everyone in your household knows where to go and what to do in case of a tornado warning.

Know the safest location for shelter in your home, workplace and school.  Load bearing walls near the center of the basement or lowest level generally provide the greatest protection.

Know the location of designated shelter areas in local public facilities, such as schools, shopping centers and other public buildings.

Have emergency supplies on hand, including a battery-operated radio, flashlight and a supply of fresh batteries, first-aid kit, water and cell phone.

Make an inventory of household furnishings and other possessions.  Supplement it with photographs of each room.  Keep in a safe place.

What to do when a thunderstorm approaches your area:

Seek safe shelter when you first hear thunder, see dark threatening clouds developing overhead or lightning.  Count the seconds between the time you see lightning and hear the thunder.  You should already be in a safe location if that time is less than 30 seconds.  Stay inside until 30 minutes after you last hear thunder.  Lightning can strike more than 10 miles away from any rainfall!

When you hear thunder, run to the nearest large building or a fully enclosed vehicle (soft-topped convertibles are not safe).  You are not safe anywhere outside.

If you are boating or swimming, get to land and shelter immediately.

Telephone lines and metal pipes can conduct electricity.  Unplug appliances not necessary for receiving weather information.  Use plug-in telephones only in an emergency.

What to do when a tornado warning is issued for your area:

Quickly move to shelter in the basement or lowest floor of a permanent structure.

In homes and small buildings go to the basement and get under something sturdy, like a workbench or stairwell.  If no basement is available, go to an interior part of the home on the lowest level.  A good rule of thumb is to put as many walls between you and the tornado as possible.

In schools, hospitals and public places move to designated shelter areas.  Interior hallways on the lowest floors are generally best.

Stay away from windows, doors and outside walls.  Broken glass and wind blown projectiles cause more injuries and deaths than collapsed buildings.  Protect your head with a pillow, blanket or mattress.

If you are caught outdoors, seek shelter in a basement, shelter or sturdy building.  If you cannot quickly walk to a shelter you should immediately get into a vehicle, buckle your seat belt and try to drive to the closest sturdy shelter.

If flying debris occurs while you are driving, pull over and park.

As a last resort, stay in the car with the seat belt on.  Put your head down below the windows, covering with your hands and a blanket if possible.

If you can safely get noticeably lower than the level of the roadway, exit your car and lie in that area, covering your head with your hands.

If you are boating or swimming, get to land and shelter immediately.

After a tornado/thunderstorm:

Inspect your property and motor vehicles for damage.  Write down the date and list damages for insurance purposes.  Check for electrical problems and gas leaks and report them to the utility company at once.

Watch out for fallen power lines.  Stay out of damaged buildings until you are sure they are safe and will not collapse.  Secure your property from further damage or theft.

Use only approved or chlorinated supplies of drinking water.  Check food supplies.

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