Tornadoes in Michigan: How to prepare and stay safe

Published: Mar. 22, 2023 at 5:22 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - As we welcome the arrival of spring, Mid-Michigan residents are reminded of the potential danger that comes with the season - severe storms.

Related: Understanding hail and wind threats in Mid-Michigan

Michigan residents participated in a statewide tornado drill Wednesday afternoon to ensure that the tornado sirens are ready for any emergency. While the drill was just a test, it’s crucial to know what to do in case of a real tornado emergency.

Tornadoes are violent rotating columns of air that extend from a cloud to the ground during a thunderstorm and are most common in the United States, especially during the May to July transition from spring to summer weather. While they are rare in Michigan, they can happen.

They are rated on the Enhanced Fujita Scale from zero to five, with five being the most severe. It’s named for the esteemed meteorologist Ted Fujita, who dedicated his life to studying how tornadoes are formed.

During a tornado watch, there is no tornado at the moment, but it’s essential to have a plan in case one occurs. When the warning goes off, it’s time to take action and get to a safe space. The lowest central location in your home is the safest place to be, such as a hall, stairs or a bathroom. Covering yourself with a blanket or mattress can provide additional protection.

Avoid doors and windows during a tornado emergency, and if you’re near a basement, it’s the best place to be. However, if you don’t have access to a basement, take shelter in a small interior room on the lowest level of your home.

Stay informed and stay safe during this year’s severe weather season by downloading the free News 10 First Alert Weather App.

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