Planning for severe weather can pay dividends

In recent days, state officials have urged the public to plan now before the potential arrival of severe weather this spring and summer.

“By taking the initiative and preparing today, you and your family will be ready when an emergency or disaster happens,” said Capt. Chris Kelenske, commander of the Michigan State Police Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division.

We agree that now is the best time to consider the possibility of issues which could arise from severe thunderstorms, flooding and tornadoes.

In 2013, there were two deaths and two injuries in Michigan caused by severe weather. In addition, state officials said tornadoes, thunderstorms and flooding were responsible for $277 million in damage.

Marquette County, and others in the U.P., encountered damage to homes and property resulting from the rise of several rivers swelled by spring snowmelt. Tornadoes, though not considered common locally, do occur in the U.P. with some regularity. Severe thunderstorms have also brought damaging straight line winds and hailstorms to the region in the past, causing a good deal of property damage.

Taking a little bit of time to prepare now can be greatly beneficial later. Something as small as checking to make sure flashlights have fresh batteries can make contending with a power outage a lot easier. That’s one small example of preparedness planning that can be beneficial.

Taking various measures to prepare, before severe weather occurs, can help minimize damage and ensure safe evacuation or shelter. Some of those measures include understanding severe weather warnings and terminology, preparing an emergency supply kit, making an emergency plan and creating an emergency contact list.

State officials said spring and summer frequently bring fast-changing weather conditions that increase the potential for severe weather.

For more information about what to do before, during and after an emergency or disaster, visit: www.michigan.gov/beprepared.