Office of Domestic Preparedness Blog

Tornado preparedness

Before a Tornado

Tornadoes are known for developing rapidly, with little advanced warning. The average lead time for a tornado warning is 10 to 15 minutes, which is why Michigan residents are encouraged to prepare and make a plan before a tornado strikes. To be ready before a tornado:

Create an emergency preparedness kit for your home that includes the following items:

  • Water, one gallon of water per person per day,
    for drinking and sanitation

  • Food, at least a three-day supply of
    non-perishable food

  • Battery-powered radio and a NOAA Weather
    Radio with tone alert, and extra batteries for

  • Flashlight and extra batteries

  • First aid kit

  • Whistle to signal for help

  • Infant formula and diapers (if applicable)

  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties
    for personal sanitation

  • Dust mask or cotton t-shirt to help filter the air

  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place

  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities

  • Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)

Develop and implement a family communications plan with family members living in your home so, when a tornado strikes, you know how to get to a safe place. Be sure the plan also addresses the following:

  • Where you will meet up if separated?

  • How you will contact each other?

  • What would you do in different situations?

Listen to your NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television newscasts for the latest information. Listen to instructions given by local emergency management and first responder officials.

Be aware of the danger signs indicating a tornado:

  • Dark, often greenish sky

  • Large hail

  • A large, dark, low-lying cloud (particularly if rotating)

  • Loud roar, similar to a freight train

If you see approaching storms or any of these signs, be prepared to take shelter immediately


Did You Know?

On average, Michigan has 15 tornadoes a year.

The National Weather Service reported 15 confirmed tornadoes in the state of Michigan in 2018. Since 1950, 1,049 tornadoes have been reported in the state of Michigan, resulting in substantial loss of life and property.

Walt Grech