By Jessica Mathews /

Severe Weather Awareness Week is here – reminding Livingston County residents, businesses, schools and others to review their emergency procedures and prepare for weather-related hazards.

Warning Coordination Meteorologist Rich Pollman with the National Weather Service Detroit/Pontiac Office says it’s important for people to know what to do when severe weather strikes this season. Severe weather season typically runs from April to September but Pollman says that doesn’t mean we’re immune from severe storms in March or October if all of the conditions come together just right. The season peaks in June and July.

Pollman says now is a good to dust off those severe weather plans and review procedures with families or places of work. Threats include high winds, hail, lightning, tornadoes and severe thunderstorms. Every thunderstorm by definition has lightning, which poses a risk to life and safety. If people can hear thunder, then they’re in the strike zone of a storm and are advised to not wait for rain to appear – with a reminder phrase being “when thunder roars, go indoors”.

People should be watchful for various hazards including hail or strong winds that bring down trees but it’s also a time to watch out for tornadoes. Pollman says last year there were three tornados, although the average number for the state is about 15, and all three were in the Upper Peninsula during month of August. He said it was an unusual severe weather season in 2020 to say the least for Michigan.

Pollman says the bulk of flooding occurs in spring with snow melt or heavy spring rains or in the latter half of the summer – especially in July, August and September. He said that’s when an air mass is capable of holding more water and storms don’t move as fast so they can sit over one area, drop a lot of heavy rain and cause flooding. Pollman says usually spring storms in May and June are moving quick enough that they don’t have to be concerned about flooding.

People should also pay attention to severe thunderstorm and tornado watches, with Pollman noting the NWS tries to get warnings out about an hour in advance.

Meanwhile, a statewide tornado drill is planned this Wednesday at 1pm in conjunction with Severe Weather Awareness Week but with some COVID protocols. Officials say people should not congregate in groups for drills but rather just review plans. More information is available through the link.