With Governor Rick Snyder proclaiming this week Severe Weather Awareness Week, the Michigan State Police Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP/EMHSD) is encouraging Michigan residents to prepare before severe weather strikes this spring and summer.

Capt. Chris A. Kelenske, Deputy State Director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security says "Severe Weather Awareness Week is the time of year to learn what to do before, during and after severe weather hazards. That includes flooding, thunderstorms and tornadoes. By taking the initiative and preparing today, you and your family will be ready when an emergency or disaster happens."

The MSP/EMHSD says spring and summer frequently bring fast-weather conditions that increase the potential for sever weather. Steps can be taken to prepare before that will minimize damage and ensure safe evacuation or shelter, such as understanding severe weather warnings and terms, preparing an emergency supply kit, making an emergency plan and creating an emergency contact list.

To recognize Severe Weather Awareness Week, the MSP/EMHSD will hold a special ceremony today in the glass floor rotunda of the Michigan State capitol building. More than 200 posters were received from fourth and fifth graders statewide for a contest recognizing Severe Weather Awareness Week and a winner will be chosen.

In 2013, there were two deaths and two injuries in Michigan due to severe weather. Flooding, severe thunderstorms and tornadoes were responsible for $277 million in damages.

For more information on Severe Weather Awareness Week and what to do before, during and after an emergency or disaster, go to www.michigan.gov/beprepared