The April 3, 1956 Tornado Outbreak

What If?

Inevitably, the question must be asked: What if a storm like this were to happen today? The answer is not one that is pleasant to think about, but we must.

Are we prepared? Although the awareness to the threat of severe weather and the presence of early warning systems are much improved since 1956, this is at least partially offset by the increase in population density. Many areas that were open farmland or woods have been converted to residential areas and commercial districts. The increase in population makes it even more important to get the best use out of modern technology to minimize the threat posed by severe weather, and specifically, by strong tornadoes.

Although they are relatively rare in Michigan, strong tornadoes like those of April 3, 1956 can and will occur. The best way to be prepared is to know how to get the warnings and what to do when the warning is issued.

Have a NOAA Weather Radio with a tone alert feature. Have a plan that includes the safest place in your home to go to when a tornado warning is issued and practice the plan. Also know the tornado safety rules (5.7 Mbyte PDF) to follow if you are caught outside or in your car when a tornado is approaching.

Taking time to learn this information can save your life, when the inevitable happens again.

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