Police encourage Michiganders to prepare for severe weather

Manistee roads were flooded earlier this month, along with parks, parking lots, homes and even cemeteries. (News Advocate File Photo)

MANISTEE COUNTY — As spring weather slowly makes its way to Michigan, severe storms are not too far behind.

Earlier this month, Michigan had a whirlwind storm that brought rain, sleet, high winds, tornadoes and flooding to various parts of the state. Manistee County was subject to flooding at many area businesses, residences and roadways.

In light of the increased chance for severe weather, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has proclaimed March 24-30 as Severe Weather Awareness Week.

With that, the Michigan State Police Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP/EMHSD) is encouraging Michiganders to prepare before severe conditions strike.

“Spring and summer can bring fast-changing weather conditions that increase the potential for severe weather,” stated Capt. Emmitt McGowan, deputy state director of EMHSD and commander of the MSP/EMHSD, in a press release. “By taking steps to prepare before severe weather strikes, you can lessen the impacts a disaster could have on yourself, your family and your property.”

A statewide tornado drill is slated for 1 p.m. on Wednesday, and all businesses, organizations, families and individuals are invited to participate in this emergency preparedness activity — although it’s not required.

Lt. Brian Gutowski, emergency management coordinator of the Manistee County Sheriff’s Office, said residents should update their emergency preparedness kits. Those without one should start planning ahead now, he said.

“The time to prepare is not when you are staring down the barrel of a tornado,” Gutowski said. “You want to have all of those preparations done ahead of time so you are not scrambling.

“Now that we are going into the spring, it’s a great time to make sure that your basic emergency preparedness kit is up-to-date.”

An emergency preparedness kit for the spring and summertime should include the following items:

• A three-day supply of nonperishable food and can opener;

• Flashlights and batteries, or a lantern;

• A battery powered radio, with extra batteries;

• A gallon of water per person per day, for drinking and sanitation;

• For infants, extra formula or baby food and diapers;

• First aid supplies and other medical supplies like medications, glasses or contacts;

• Pet supplies like a leash, food and bowls; and

• In a vehicle, pack a back-up set of clothes, blankets or sleeping bag, and other items to survive in the wilderness.

Local residents are also invited to join a free weather spotter training that will be held at the Manistee County Sheriff’s Office in conjunction with the National Weather Service. Skywarn Spotter Training will take place from 6-7:30 p.m. on April 16.

“Reservations are not required, and anyone is welcome to join,” Gutowski said. “We typically see about 10-15 people at the trainings.”

The program, which runs under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) NWS, was started in the ’60s to train residents to spot weather, providing reports of severe and hazardous conditions to help meteorologists warn the public.

Those who attend will learn how to measure precipitation, weather safety, detection of different types of clouds, how to estimate wind speeds and other measures.

For more information on how to stay safe in the event of an emergency or disaster, visit www.michigan.gov/miready.

Contact Ashlyn Korienek at (231) 398-3109 or email akorienek@pioneergroup.com. Follow her on Twitter: @MNA_Ashlyn.

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Posted by Ashlyn Korienek

Ashlyn is the cops & courts and city reporter for the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach her at (231) 398-3109 or akorienek@pioneergroup.com

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