Delta County and the Upper Peninsula are not immune to tornadoes. Although they are rare, many residents will remember the tornado that brushed Gladstone a number of years ago.
Severe weather and tornadoes can happen at any time. Over the weekend, southern areas of the United States were struck by tornadoes and severe weather and over 40 people lost their lives. It's important to be prepared before severe weather strikes.
Looking from a whole state perspective, Michigan experienced an above average year for severe weather in 2010. Severe thunderstorms and tornadoes were responsible for over $360 million in damages, one death, and 22 injuries across the state. Upper Michigan, however, experienced another relatively quiet year with regards to severe weather. There were 31 reports of severe weather across Upper Michigan in 2010 which is about half of normal.
There were 27 tornadoes that touched down across the state in 2010, which is the highest state total since 2001 when 35 tornadoes were recorded. Three tornadoes actually touched down in Upper Michigan in 2010. While they were weak and mainly confined to wooded areas, it was the most tornadoes in a season since 2002. Upper Michigan typically averages one tornado per year. Also of note, the first tornado in 2010 touched down near Iron River on April 30, which was only the fourth time a tornado occurred in the month of April in Upper Michigan since 1950.
Despite the lull in severe weather activity across Upper Michigan during the last couple of years, the area is still at risk for tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, hail, floods and lightning. The National Weather Service is encouraging residents to review severe weather safety procedures especially since they probably have not been put into action in some time. Plan ahead. Be sure everyone in your household knows where to go and what to do when severe weather threatens, whether they are at home, at work, or in school. The best time to prepare for severe weather is before it happens. Additional severe weather awareness week and weather safety information can be found at www.weather.gov/mqt.