Michigan's statewide tornado drill is Wednesday -- What to know

Michigan will hold its annual statewide tornado drill Wednesday afternoon.

UPDATE: NWS postpones statewide tornado drill due to potentially severe weather

Tornado sirens and alerts on National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Weather Radios, TV, and radio stations will sound at 1 p.m. 

"Last summer in Michigan, we saw the devastating impacts of severe weather, from flooding to tornadoes and straight-line winds," Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said. "Taking steps to prepare now can protect your home, your family and your pets. We ask that all Michiganders do their part to keep our communities safe."

The drill is held every year during Severe Weather Week to encourage people to prepare for disasters and review their emergency plans before summer weather.

"With an average of 15 tornadoes each year, this is a very real threat to our Michigan communities," said Col. Joe Gasper, state director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and director of the Michigan State Police. "This drill will give people a chance to make a plan and put it to the test. By planning now, you can be better prepared when a disaster happens." 

People are encouraged to use Wednesday to get ready ahead of potential severe weather. Tornados develop in an average of 10-15 minutes, so being ready before severe weather arrives is essential.

Tips for preparing:

  • Know the difference: Tornado Watch means conditions exist for a tornado to develop; Tornado Warning means a tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar.
  • Know the signs of an approaching tornado: dark, often greenish sky; large hail; a large, dark low-lying cloud; and loud roar, like a freight train.
  • Develop an emergency preparedness 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.
  • 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.