As Michigan prepares for Severe Weather Awareness Week, state officials are planning to conduct a statewide tornado drill. Here's what you need to know.

While Michigan residents rarely see tornado activity in February, two twisters struck in the early morning hours of February 28, touching down in Marshall, Michigan in Calhoun County at approximately 12:37 am and less than an hour later in Grand Blanc near the intersection of Dort Highway and Reid Rd.

Videos of the destruction in Grand Blanc can be found here. Fortunately, no deaths or serious injuries were reported from those two tornados.

Tornado Facts in Michigan

  • On average, Michigan sees about 15 tornadoes per year.
  • The average lead time for a tornado warning is 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Winds can reach over 200 miles per hour.

There are several steps Michigan residents can do to make sure they're prepared in the event of a tornado. That information is here.

 Severe Weather Awareness Week in Michigan

This year, March 17 through March 23 is designated as Severe Weather Awareness Week in Michigan. Michigan residents are encouraged to have a plan in place and make sure each family member is aware of what do do in the event of severe weather.

Statewide Tornado Drill

Typically, communities in Michigan test their tornado sirens on the first Saturday of each month. However, during severe weather awareness week, a statewide tornado drill will be conducted on Wednesday, March 20 at 1 pm.

This statewide test will originate from the National Weather Service Offices in Grand Rapids, Gaylord, Marquette, Detroit/Pontiac, and Northern Indiana. All counties in Michigan are planning to participate in the statewide drill.

Know the difference between a Tornado Watch and a Tornado Warning

Tornado Watch: Conditions are favorable for tornado activity. Be prepared to take action and continue to monitor local broadcast stations for for more information. Local TV and radio stations are required to interrupt programming with important weather information.

Tornado Warning:  A tornado has been spotted by a trained observer or detected by radar equipment. In the event of a Tornado Warning, you should take action immediately to protect yourself.


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