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Newaygo County Emergency Services
Monday March 20th, 2023 :: 10:01 a.m. EDT


Michigan's Severe Weather Awareness Week is March 19 - 25, 2023, with the Statewide Tornado Drill scheduled for Wed. March 22.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has declared March 19-25 as Michigan’s Severe Weather Awareness Week, and the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP/EMHSD) is calling on residents to act by participating in a voluntary statewide tornado drill at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, March 22.

“We are approaching the anniversary of the deadly EF3 tornado that devastated the city of Gaylord last year,” said Capt. Kevin Sweeney, deputy state director of Emergency Management and commander of the MSP/EMHSD. “It serves as an important reminder to take steps now to prepare and create a plan to protect your home, your family, and your pets.”

According to The National Weather Service, the state of Michigan averages 15 tornadoes each year.

“This drill gives people a chance to make a plan and put it to the test, so we are all better prepared when a disaster strikes,” Sweeney said.   
Businesses, organizations, families, and individuals are encouraged to engage in this statewide preparedness activity but are not required to do so. During the drill, residents will observe or hear alerts on TV and radio stations, as well as outdoor sirens in their community if the local emergency management agency is participating. Contact your local emergency management agency to learn how local alerts are administrated in your community and if your community is participating.

The average lead time for tornadoes to develop is 10 to 15 minutes, which means residents need to be ready to react quickly when a warning is issued.

To be ready for a tornado:

  • Know the difference: tornado watch means conditions exist for a tornado to develop; tornado warning means a tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar.
  • Know the signs of an approaching tornado: dark, often greenish sky; large hail; a large, dark low-lying cloud; and a loud roar, like a freight train.
  • Stay tuned to commercial radio or television broadcasts for news on changing weather conditions or approaching storms. 
  • Develop an emergency preparedness kit with essential items such as a three-day water and food supply, a NOAA Weather Radio, important family documents, and items that satisfy unique family needs.
  • Identify a safe place in your home for household members and pets to gather during a tornado.
  • Make sure everyone understands the tornado warning system in your area.
  • Engage with your local emergency manager to find out if they are participating.
For more information about being safe before, during, and after a tornado, follow the MSP/EMHSD on Twitter at @MichEMHS or go to  

What you should know about Tornado Sirens :

As a reminder, in Newaygo County Tornado Sirens are tested once a month on the first Monday of the month at 7pm April through October. If a holiday falls on the first Monday, sirens will be tested the following Monday.

Sirens are located in the City of Fremont, City of Newaygo, City of Grant, Village of Hesperia, Big Prairie, Croton, and Bitely.

Please remember:

  • Tornado Sirens are only sounded when a Tornado Warning is issued by the National Weather Service. 
  • Tornado Sirens will NOT sound for a Severe Thunderstorms with damaging winds (straight line winds or down bursts) 
  • Tornado Sirens are activated manually and can take up to 5 minutes to set off after a Tornado Warning has been issued. 
  • Tornado Sirens are designed to ONLY notify an outdoor population of a tornado
  • Tornado Sirens are difficult to hear indoors during a storm
  • Tornado Sirens can only be heard for 1 - 2 miles around the siren
  • Tornado Sirens can not give you specific information about the incoming Tornado.
Ways to recieve Emergency Alerts 
Newaygo County uses multiple methods to disseminate emergency information in order to target the largest number of people possible. It is up to you to choose which notification method(s) work best for you to receive the emergency information.

If you have a text enabled Cell Phone, Newaygo ES recommends signing up for Nixle.
  • Nixle is a FREE comprehensive warning system designed for rapid dissemination of alerts and public information to a variety of public mechanisms.
  • Alerts and emergency information are received via text, email, web, and social media in real time for localized emergency situations relevant to the community.
  • Anyone can view information through the Nixle Website without registering to receive alerts at
To register for NIXLE ALERTS
  1. Text your Zip Code or NEWAYGOES to 888777 from your mobile phone
  2. Sign up and create a user profile at
If you do not have text or Internet capabilities, Newaygo County Emergency Services encourages the use of NOAA Weather Radios.
NOAA Weather Radios: 
  • Are designed for All-Hazards Warning and can be modified to alert those with special needs including deaf and hard of hearing, blind, etc. 
  • Are programmed to notify you of hazards within your area including tornados, severe thunderstorms, straight-line winds, downbursts, hail, hazardous materials spills, floods, etc. 
  • Will give you specific information about the storm and emergency protective measures you should take.
  • Are set off automatically through local NOAA Weather Radio Towers when a warning is issued. Notifications occur within seconds of the warning.
  • Are battery operated and will work when there is no power. Some models are handheld while others are also an AM/FM radio and alarm clock. 
  • On average, cost $20.00 per unit. Units are no more expensive to maintain than smoke detectors.
For additional forecast information, please visit  

Newaygo County Emergency Services
E Newell St
White Cloud, MI 49349

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 231-689-7354

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