Michigan’s storm season is already off to a strong start this year, as a series of thunderstorms produced five confirmed tornadoes in Ionia, Mecosta, and Huron Counties in June. According to reports, the storms developed very quickly, growing from scattered rain showers to major storms “capable of producing tornadoes within about 15 minutes.”
The Increased severity of storms, tornadoes, and other weather events across the state not only poses a safety risk to Michigan residents, businesses, and communities, but also threatens our entire energy infrastructure. As we bunker down to make it through another storm season, here are five things you should know:
1. July is Peak Storm Season. Typically, storms season starts in late March, peaks in July, and runs through early September due to warmer weather increasing moisture and humidity in the air. That can mean severe thunderstorms, strong winds, and downed power lines that can lead to outages for Michigan homes and businesses.
2. Know the Difference: Watch Versus Warning. A severe thunderstorm watch means that the conditions are right for a storm, so you should be prepared to watch the situation and act if a warning is issued. A warning means severe weather has been reported or spotted on radar, and poses an eminent danger—that is when you know to take cover in a safe place.
3. Be Prepared. As the escalation of recent storms showed us, severe weather can catch everyone by surprise. Developing an emergency plan and kit can help you stay prepared in the event of a power outage after a major storm. Consider stocking your emergency kit with a battery-operated flashlight, batteries, a first aid kit, a minimum three-day supply of bottled water and non-perishable food, blankets, matches and candles, and other necessities.
4. Stay Connected Through an App or Online. Both Consumers Energy and DTE Energy offer their own mobile apps, where you can report an outage and receive real-time updates on power restoration efforts. Both providers also offer online resources for key updates on outages during storms.
5. The Importance of Grid Resiliency. Michigan’s notorious storm season is one of the reasons it’s so important to strengthen and improve our electric grid so it is more resilient and less susceptible to power disruptions during a major storm. That is why local energy providers are working to implement smart grid technology that helps them more efficiently identify and respond to power issues in real time. It’s also why local providers invest in tree-trimming services to minimize physical damage to our electric infrastructure during and after a storm.
Did we miss anything? Let us know what you do to prepare for Michigan storm season by joining in the conversation on Facebook.