'Severe Weather Awareness Week' Hits Meridian

'Severe Weather Awareness Week' Hits Meridian

MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP - 'Severe Weather Awareness Week' has come again to Michigan and many other states who participate.

Every April, usually around the time the weather starts to fluctuate between cold and warm, 'Severe Weather Awareness Week' reminds people to be prepared for the worst.

"It's a week identified every year to try and get the local television media and schools, teachers, and the general public to be talking about and thinking more about the dangers of severe weather, the warning signs, things people can do to makes themselves and their property safer," David Chapman, a member of Michigan Committee of Severe Weather Awareness, said.

Spring is most likely to have more extreme weather.

"In the spring, we have a lot more opportunities for severe weather so it's good to get the awareness back out there," Captain Bill Richardson of the Meridian Township Fire Department said.

He said this week reminds people of what spring can bring.

"We've gone through the wintertime where we don't really think about the severe weather like we have in the spring," he said.

At 1 P.M. on Wednesday, tornado sirens were set off statewide to test the equipment as well as remind people what that noise entails.

There are six tornado sirens in the Township with one more coming to Wonch Park in the coming weeks.

Richardson said there is an overall plan to get even more within the township.

"Usually when severe weather happens, there's a lot of times there's stuff all over the road that we take care of," Richardson said. "If it's small stuff, we've been able to take care of it."

Tornadoes aren't the only severe weather to watch out for. Snowstorms, thunderstorm and flooding can be just as extreme.

Last year, Michigan had over $220 million in property damage, mostly from flooding.

Chapman said each disaster is different and should be treated so when it comes to preparation and call-to-action.

"Each danger has it's own set of recommendations," he said.

For flooding, he said leaving to get to higher ground is best.

"In flooding, the greatest number of accidents and deaths have occurred because people try driving their car over roads that have been flooded," Chapman said. "It doesn't have to be very deep to lift the car, to lose friction with the road and have the car be washed off the road."

Tornado warnings mean you should take shelter in lower level areas without windows in case glass breaks, he said.

"It means secure interior rooms that have strong walls," Chapman said.

Thunderstorms and lightning entail not being outside, he said, instead of taking shelter under an object to prevent being rained on.

Chapman said it's very important to know which weather hazards affect you, such as being close to a river or stream in terms of flooding.

Additional Resources

To learn more about 'Severe Weather Awareness Week' and to learn how to protect you and your property, you can visit the Michigan Committee for Severe Weather Awareness at mcswa.com.

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