With Gov. Rick Snyder declaring Michigan’s Severe Weather Awareness Week from April 16- 22, emergency management partners statewide are encouraging Michiganders to conduct a statewide tornado drill at 1:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, April 19. This will include alerts on radio and television stations, and in some areas may also coincide with testing of the tornado siren.

All businesses, organizations, families and individuals are welcome to participate in the voluntary statewide preparedness activity. Nearly all state of Michigan facilities will be participating.

While tornadoes can occur 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 to 15 minutes, which means citizens 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 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, and a loud roar, similar to a freight train.