Niles, Milton Township to participate in statewide tornado drill Wednesday

Published 9:34 am Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The City of Niles and Milton Township will be cooperating with a statewide tornado drill at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 13.

The drill comes during Michigan’s Severe Weather Awareness Week, which runs April 10-16.

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division is encouraging residents and visitors to prepare themselves for potential severe weather.

“Tornadoes can develop very quickly — potentially with little or no warning,” said Capt. Rockey Adams, Berrien County Coordinator of Emergency Management and Homeland Security. “Due to their unpredictable nature, we must be ready well in advance. We’re asking citizens and businesses to take few extra steps during the week to ensure they’re prepared and safe.

“This is a great time to practice or discuss severe weather plans you have created for your family; or the plans that are in place at your work, school, or other places you frequently visit.”

Specific sirens in Berrien County are designed to be part of the early warning system for use in the unlikely event of a nuclear emergency. The testing schedule for these sirens is on a regular schedule that is set many years in advance. For this reason, these sirens will not be sounded for this tornado drill.

Residents and businesses participating in the statewide tornado drill will hear alerts on NOAA Weather Radios and view alerts on participating TV and radio stations.

Milton Township has been steadily increasing its coverage levels in the township with a new weather alert siren slated for installation this year at the intersection of Ironwood and Bertrand.

“These dangerous storms can occur quickly without warning, as was evident in Edwardsburg a few weeks ago,” said Robert Benjamin, Milton Township supervisor. “Residents are also encouraged to utilize weather alert radios as well as smart phone technology to compliment exterior warning sirens.”

The City of Niles and Milton Township through a joint partnership test their exterior weather alert sirens twice monthly on the first Saturday and third Wednesday at 1 p.m. during the months of March through November.