Severe Weather Awareness Week Highlights Planning
- Special siren test to take place Wednesday, March 22 at 1 p.m.
- Sign-up for OakAlert, a self-registering alert system which emails participants about emergencies and disasters in Oakland County, such as chemical spills, significant road closures, interruption of county services, health and safety messages, and active assailant situations.
- Residents are encouraged to check the Oakland County Emergency Management web page and social media for information about severe weather threats, including developing a family plan of action, tornados, downed power lines, floods, fires and more.
Pontiac, Michigan – Oakland County is observing Severe Weather Awareness Week (SWAW) March 19-25 with many opportunities to educate residents about severe weather hazards.
“Severe Weather Awareness Week is a great opportunity to learn, plan, and prepare,” said Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter. “Knowing what you will do, where you will go and how you will communicate with family and friends in the case of an emergency is key to staying safe.”
Spring is traditionally a period when the threat of high winds, hail, lightning, tornadoes, and severe thunderstorms greatly increase. Severe Weather Awareness Week is a reminder to review emergency procedures and prepare for weather-related hazards.
Residents are encouraged to check the Oakland County Emergency Management web page and social media for information about severe weather threats, including developing a family plan of action, tornados, downed power lines, floods, fires and more.
As part of Oakland County’s recognition week, there will be a statewide tornado drill on Wednesday, March 22 at 1 p.m. Oakland County Emergency Management will activate its outdoor warning siren system, and the National Weather Service will issue a practice tornado warning and broadcast a test message on National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Weather Radio. The practice warning can be heard on a NOAA Weather Radio, which can be bought commercially, or heard through the NOAA Weather Radio app.
Individuals, families, and businesses throughout Oakland County should use the tornado drill as an opportunity to practice and ensure that they are prepared for severe weather.
Every time a siren test is conducted – whether the first Saturday of the month or a special test – an “OakAlert” message is sent to subscribers. OakAlert is a self-registering alert system which emails participants about emergencies and disasters in Oakland County, such as chemical spills, significant road closures, interruption of county services, health and safety messages, and active assailant situations. The message on March 22 will communicate information about the statewide test. To sign up for OakAlert, click on oakgov.com/emergency-management. It takes 90 seconds.
Oakland County has 275 outdoor warning sirens located throughout the county. All sirens are activated by the transmission of a radio frequency signal with a tone alert. The signal is transmitted by Oakland County Emergency Management.
When sirens are activated, a steady three-minute tone indicates a tornado has been sighted or strongly indicated on radar and/or a severe thunderstorm with 70 mph sustained winds or greater is in the area. Residents would be given instructions to seek shelter immediately and listen to radio or television for more information.
Each siren can cover about a one-mile radius from its location. The sirens are designed to alert citizens who are outside, but citizens inside buildings may hear the siren if they are close to the siren location. For indoor warning, residents are advised to obtain the FEMA mobile app or purchase a weather radio, which provide notifications of incoming severe weather.
For more resources on how you can prepare your home, school, or business for severe weather emergencies and other disasters, or to sign up for OakAlerts, visit www.oakgov.com/emergency-management and follow @OakGov.HS on Twitter and Facebook for preparedness tips and emergency informatio