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It's Only A Test: Statewide Tornado Drill To Take Place Wednesday; Sirens Might Sound

DETROIT (WWJ) - It's only a test! A statewide tornado drill is scheduled for Wednesday as part of Severe Weather Awareness Week.

The Michigan State Police Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division will conduct the drill at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday. The tornado drill will be heard live on WWJ Newsradio 950, as well as on participating televisions and NOAA weather radios.

The statewide tornado drill is a part of an effort to encourage residents to take action to prepare and practice their emergency plans. Since local cities, townships and counties operate their own warning sirens, some outdoor sirens may not be activated during the drill.

Businesses, organizations, families and individuals are encouraged to be a part of this statewide preparedness activity, but are not required to do so. Nearly all state of Michigan facilities will be participating.

While tornadoes can occur during 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; Loud roar, similar to a freight train.
• Develop a 72-hour emergency supply kit with essential items such as a three-day supply of water and food, a NOAA Weather Radio, important family documents and items that satisfy unique family needs.

About Severe Weather Awareness Week
Severe Weather Awareness Week, April 10-16, is sponsored by Michigan State Police Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division and the Michigan Committee for Severe Weather Awareness (MCSWA) to educate the public about the dangers of tornadoes and other severe weather events. These precautions can be taken to save lives and protect families. The MCSWA was formed in 1991 to encourage Michigan residents to be prepared in the event of severe weather.

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