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Annual statewide tornado drill scheduled for Wednesday, Lenawee Co. set for Thursday

Michigan Severe Weather Awareness Week is March 21-27.
Michigan Severe Weather Awareness Week is March 21-27.
Michigan Severe Weather Awareness Week is March 21-27.(KY3)
Published: Mar. 22, 2021 at 9:27 AM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Eaton County and Ingham County are set to participate in a statewide tornado drill on Wednesday, March 24 at 1:00 p.m. Lenawee County will be holding its test at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 25 due to a number of local factors.

Residents are urged to use the time to take shelter (if it can be done in a “COVID-safe” manner) or to consider where they would go if an actual tornado warning had been issued.

Ingham County

Ingham County follows the national best practices with the siren system and will sound sirens for the following:

  • Tornado Warning issued by the National Weather Service (NWS)
  • Extreme Winds (80mph or higher) expected to enter the county or reported by spotters in the county
  • A reliable tornado report by trained weather spotters

Eaton County

Eaton County will be participating in the following ways:

  • Encouraging county departments, agencies/organizations, businesses, families, and individuals to discuss and practice their severe weather plan as a preparedness activity while following COVID-19 guidelines per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Creating social media posts through Severe Weather Awareness Week promoting the drill and highlighting the participation
  • Issuing a news release to our media partners about the participation
  • Outdoor warning siren activation for all communities in Eaton County on Wednesday, March 24 at 1:00 p.m.
  • Testing of the countywide alert system (text/phone/email) on Wednesday, March 24 at 1:00 p.m.

“Eaton County Central Dispatch and Eaton County Emergency Management will take this opportunity to practice our procedures as if it were an actual tornado warning,” said 911 Director Michael Armitage.

In addition to participating in the drill, residents of Eaton County can also prepare by creating a Smart911 account and registering for emergency alerts at eatoncounty911.org or smart911.com. Residents can also register for alerts by texting the word “EATON” to 67283.

Lenawee County

Lenawee County will hold its annual tornado siren test at 7:00 pm on Thursday, March 25.

When an actual tornado warning is issued by the NWS, most phones will also alert thanks to the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system built-in. That will not be activated during the test this year.

However, most TV and radio stations will trigger their EAS crawl system.

Additionally, here are some common tornado terms and their meaning:

  • Tornado: A violently rotating, funnel-shaped cloud that extends from a thunderstorm to the ground with whirling winds that can reach over 200 mph.
  • Tornado Watch: Tornadoes are possible in your area. Remain alert for approaching storms. Watch the sky and stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio reports, commercial radio, and television reports for further information.
  • Tornado Warning: A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar in your area. Take shelter immediately.
  • Supercell: A system producing severe thunderstorms, featuring rotating winds sustained by a prolonged updraft that may result in hail or tornadoes.

The Enhanced Fujita (EF) Scale rates the strength of tornadoes in the United States and Canada.

There are six categories for the EF scale and are in order of increasing intensity. It is based on wind estimates of a 3-second gust.

  • EF0: Tornadoes with an estimated wind speed of 65-85 mph and leads to light damage.
  • EF1: Estimated wind speed of 86-110 mph with the potential of moderate damage.
  • EF2: Estimated wind speeds of 111-135 mph with significant damage potential.
  • EF3: Estimated wind speeds of 136-165 mph with severe damage potential.
  • EF4: Estimated wind speeds of 166-200 mph with devastating damage potential
  • EF5: Estimated wind speeds of over 200 mph with incredible damage potential.

For more information on emergency preparedness, visit the MI Ready page here.

Eaton County and Ingham County are set to participate in statewide tornado drill on Wednesday,...
Eaton County and Ingham County are set to participate in statewide tornado drill on Wednesday, March 24 at 1:00 p.m.(weather.gov/mob)

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