Severe Weather Awareness Week

severe weather week

It’s Severe Weather Awareness Week here in Michigan, from March 17 through March 23. Severe weather awareness is critical, as storms can quickly change from rain showers to powerful storms that threaten life and property. The National Weather Service has several tools available to increase your weather awareness. You can check them out here. With the changing of the season from winter to spring, it’s typically a time when we can see sudden weather changes, such as a warm front colliding with a cold front. These weather changes can lead to powerful thunderstorms.

Severe Weather In Michigan

While you may think Michigan doesn’t experience severe weather, you would be wrong. Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s Proclamation states that since 1977, 70% of disasters in Michigan have been due to severe weather. Some of Michigan’s most likely severe weather events include flooding and high winds. During winter and spring, snow often melts, and large rivers jam with ice, creating hazardous conditions upstream with the increased snow melting. We are also at risk for tornadoes, perhaps the most dangerous natural weather risk due to their unpredictability.

Tornadoes In Michigan

In addition to flooding, Michigan sees an average of 15 tornadoes annually. While typically small, these tornadoes can cause wide-scale damage and loss of life. I had the opportunity to assist with some tornado clean-up activities during the summer of 2023 as a volunteer with Kent County Search and Rescue. It was shocking to see how many houses and businesses were damaged by just a ‘small’ tornado. Fortunately, there were no deaths.

While most tornadoes in Michigan are EF-0 or EF-1, we have had several incredibly powerful tornadoes. In fact, in the 1950s, several F5 tornadoes spun up in Michigan. These tornadoes caused hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries. There was even one near where I have lived most of my adult life.

Be Prepared

Climate change is causing more frequent natural disasters. Learn to be prepared for climate-specific emergencies. You can also ensure your and your family’s safety by developing emergency communication tools, such as getting a GMRS radio license or amateur radio. A GMRS license is excellent because one license fee covers your entire household, and radios are relatively low-cost. 

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At, our goal is to keep you safe, whether you’re preparing your family for potentially severe weather or heading into the backwoods for a two-week trek. We’ll continue to focus on bringing things to your attention, practical survival skills you can use, and survival and emergency gear recommendations.

To that extent, we may receive a commission for some of the products we link to.

Image by Ron Rev Fenomeno from Pixabay

About The Author

Zach Graft is the owner of Pack & Paddle Expedition Co and He is an avid outdoorsman and survivalist, with more than a decade of experience exploring Michigan’s woods and waterways. He is currently a member of the Kent County Search & Rescue team, has two rescue dogs, and is a part-time emergency management student.

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