Citizens urged to be prepared during Michigan Severe Weather Awareness Week

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Strong winds led to fallen tree limbs on VanBuren Street in 2011. Photo by Mickey Alvarado.

Tornado sirens throughout the county will be tested on Thursday, April 11, at 5:55 p.m. as part of Michigan Severe Weather Awareness Week, observed April 7-13. Sirens will sound for two minutes, which would be the warning residents would hear if severe weather is in the area.

In Tecumseh the four warning sirens are located at Brown Street by Brookside Cemetery; City Hall; Patterson, north of Tecumseh Acres School; and Southwestern Drive by Tecumseh Place. Plans for a fifth siren are still in the works.

“Funds are still being set aside toward the future purchase of a fifth siren for the city’s north side, near Burt Street,” said Tecumseh Fire Chief Joe Tuckey.

Tuckey said that increasingly accurate technology, including Doppler radar systems, are making it possible to detect which direction severe weather may be coming from as spotters are strategically located at certain points of the city.
“We’re usually out before a tornado sighting and generally go out when there is a watch,” Tuckey said. “We used to send a truck to Bramble Hwy. and M-50 because the weather typically came in from the southwest, but last year, some came out of the northwest from Washtenaw and were heading to our corner of the county. That was a new direction, so we moved the truck out to the airport. Based on the new technology, we’re better able to choose locations for our spotters.”

Tuckey said if a watch turns into a warning, the Tecumseh Fire Department trucks will locate in various parts of the city for response.

“We keep an eye on the weather patterns here,” he said.

Tuckey said one of the most important things to do before severe weather begins showing up in the area is to have a plan.

“People should know what they are gong to do before it happens,” said Tuckey. “That can mean putting together some emergency supplies, and the rule of thumb is to have enough to take care of yourself for about three days. People also should be informed and know the difference between a watch and a warning and what they should do in each.”

He said one of the best places to obtain information is www.ready.gov where visitors may find emergency kit lists, facts about tornadoes, family communication plans and more.

Tuckey said it’s important for residents to have some kind of early warning system available to them, whether it be the new Code Red system that was adopted countywide last year for cell phone or home phone notifications, or obtaining a NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) weather radio.

“I remind people every year that the outdoor warning sirens weren’t designed to wake people up in the middle of the night; they’re designed to warn people outside to go inside and seek shelter and get more information,” Tuckey said. “To wake up, people need to get a weather radio or sign up for Code Red so they’ll know something is going on.”

Tuckey said he personally keeps a NOAA weather radio at home.
“They’re a good thing to have,” he said.




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