Michigan State Police are asking Michigan residents (not just students), to participate in an upcoming Tornado Drill. According to a release from Michigan State Police, Governor Whitmer has proclaimed this week, from March 21st through the 27th, as Michigan’s Severe Weather Awareness Week. The Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division is encouraging residents to participate in a voluntary statewide tornado drill at 1 PM on Wednesday.

Authorities aren’t necessarily asking residents to sit and cover their heads but they are asking them to use the opportunity to discuss their emergency plans, in case of an actual tornado. In regards to COVID-19, Captain Keven Sweeney, deputy state director of Emergency Management and commander of the MSP/EMHSD has requested that, “this year we are asking large groups not shelter in place together during the drill,” and that residents should use the time to discuss emergency, tornado plans instead.

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During the statewide tornado drill, residents will observe or hear alerts on NOAA Weather Radios, TV and radio stations. To learn how local alerts are administrated in your community and if your community is participating, contact your local emergency management agency.

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

For tornado preparedness, the Michigan State Police are urging residents to conduct regular tornado drills, to stay tuned to commercial or television broadcasts for weather changes and to develop an emergency preparedness kit with essential items such as a three-day supply of water and food. Residents should also know the difference between a Tornado Watch which means there are conditions for a tornado to develop versus a Tornado Warning, which means a tornado has actually been spotted or indicated by weather radar.

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