Updated: Monday, 20 Apr 2009, 9:22 AM EDT
Published : Wednesday, 28 Mar 2001, 3:03 PM EST
On April 4, 1956, Standale was hit by a killer tornado -- 18 people died and the small town was leveled.
Back then predicting these killer storms was almost impossible.
Today, Storm Team 8 has the best technology to track and predict
But we can only pass on the warning, it's up to you to seek shelter. During this Severe Weather Awareness Week, make sure your family knows what to do when violent weather strikes.
There's nothing more terrifying than being caught in the path of a tornado. Yet people continue to wait until the last moment to seek shelter. Part of the reason is our fascination with these storms. The other, thanks to home video cameras, is a foolish desire to capture the storm on tape.
Mother nature doesn't always enjoy posing for the camera. According to the Michigan Committee for Severe Weather Awareness, the Standale tornado touched down near Saugatuck before moving northeast through Ottawa, Kent and Montcalm counties. The twister left 18 people dead, more than 300 people injured, and millions in property damage.
Forty-six years after the Standale tornado meteorologists are better at predicting these storms. Storm Team 8's advanced technology helps us track tornados and severe thunderstorms, giving you time to seek shelter.
An average of 18 tornadoes occur in Michigan each year. Since
1950, 239 people have been killed due to tornadoes. During this
same time, Michigan has experienced 786 tornadoes. For more
historical information, check out
Michigan Tornado History 1950-1995 .
Do you remember your last tornado drill?
It's something most of us, as children, practiced in school. An idea we should bring home to our families. Like a fire drill, a tornado drill could save your life.
What should you do when a tornado threatens?
What to do after a tornado.
What's the difference between a tornado watch and warning?
How fast and far do tornadoes travel?
They generally travel from the southwest at a speed of about 30 miles an hour. However, some tornadoes have very erratic paths with speeds approaching 70 miles per hour. The average Michigan tornado is on the ground for less than 10 minutes and travels about 5 miles. They have been known to stay on the ground for more than an hour and travel more than 100 miles.
When do tornadoes generally occur in Michigan?
Most tornadoes occur during June, July and August in the late afternoon and evening hours. However, they can occur anytime of day or night in almost any month of the year. Our strongest tornadoes have occurred in April and May.
What's the difference between a tornado and a funnel
Like a tornado, a funnel cloud is also a column of violently rotating winds extending down from a thunderstorm; however, it does not touch the earth.
For more about tornadoes, check out these links: