WWMT - wwmt.com - Search Results

The following is an archived video story. The text content of that video story is available below for reference. The original video has been deleted and is no longer available.

Keeping West Michigan safe in severe weather

WEST MICHIGAN (NEWSCHANNEL 3) West Michigan is expecting more rain, part of the same system that ravaged the south with tornadoes.

On Monday tornado warnings were in effect in parts of Tennessee and more severe weather is hitting from southern Illinois to the Gulf of Mexico.

Over the weekend a twister about a half-mile wide, packing winds estimated over 130 miles an hour carved an 80 mile path of destruction through the suburbs of Little Rock. The death toll there stands at 14 and rescue crews are still searching for survivors.

Another deadly tornado touched down in Oklahoma and plowed its way into Kansas, destroying nearly 100 homes and businesses there.

Those tornadoes prompted the question of whether West Michigan is ready for the summer storms.

Newschannel 3s Brittany Gray sat down with Calhoun Countys Emergency Management division to find out how it keeps an eye on severe weather.

The director says his department is constantly in tune with whats going on outside. In fact on Monday morning he sent out an alert about the high winds that many dealt with, but he says the responsibility also falls on the citizens to do what they can to stay in the know.

Our biggest risk in this area is weather, said Durk Dunham, Director of Calhoun County Emergency Management.

That was very apparent in May of 2011 when a strong storm blew through the county, leaving behind a path of destruction.

Thats why Dunham and his team at Emergency Management continually keep an eye on the radar.

I have a couple people that actually specialize in weather and they spend a great deal of time watching systems come in a day or two in advance, even a week in advance and will provide me with information that tells me that this is a system that could create a problem for us in three or four days, said Dunham.

There are also spotters to alert Dunham and a team of 12 on stand-by, trained and ready to go should anything severe head our way.

If thats the case, Dunham has a direct link with a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The beauty of that is that he or she can actually go to their technology and give me extremely precise predictions of the weather system thats entering Calhoun County, said Dunham.

However Dunham says its also up to those who live in the area to take some responsibility, subscribe to a service called Nixle to receive alerts for any impending weather problems or download a weather app to your cell phone.

The wonderful thing about this is that we have, existing today, the technology that actually alerts you seconds after the National Weather Service puts the alert out, said Dunham.