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      Severe Weather Awareness Week kicks off with tips

      It might still feel like winter, but the National Weather Service is getting a jump on thunderstorm season right now during Severe Weather Awareness Week.

      A big part of it is simply reinforcing some common sense guidelines, like never driving through floods and heading inside after hearing thunder.

      "Usually, right there in the middle of the summer, around the second week of July, is typically our peak time to see severe weather, and typically our biggest hazard we're dealing with is strong winds associated with our thunderstorms," said National Weather Service Meteorologist Matt Zika. "We can get some very vicious thunderstorms that have very strong winds with them."

      While the U.P. isn't exactly Texas, we also get tornadoes--three rolled through Upper Michigan in 2010--so an emergency plan and a small emergency kit are two things to prepare now, before you need them.

      One component of any plan or kit should be a weather radio.

      "It's just a simple tool for people to have to let them get the latest weather information, and any time warnings are issued for their area, they're alerted to them immediately," Zika added. "It's kind of like a smoke detector for weather. With all the outdoor activities going on here in Upper Michigan, they are a real nice tool to have."

      Even better than reacting to weather is acting beforehand--checking the forecast and avoiding exposure to severe weather is the safest solution.

      In another effort to actively engage the public, the NWS is also holding Storm Spotter training sessions in every county. You can find the complete schedule on Marquette NWS office's website by clicking here .