NOAA prepares West Michigan: “It could happen at any time.”

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - It's been 50 years since the deadly Palm Sunday tornado outbreak ripped through parts of the Midwest and West Michigan, and the National Weather Service believes we're overdue for another severe outbreak.

"It could happen at any time, just because we haven`t had strong tornados in a long time doesn`t mean we`re immune from them," said National Weather Service Meteorologist, Ernie Ostuno.

47 twisters swept through six states in two days killing 271 people, making it the fifth largest outbreak in 60 years.

Almost 300 people came together at Kenowa Hills High School in Grand Rapids, remembering those killed in the outbreak and spreading awareness on severe weather. The event was put on by the National Weather Service and the Alpine Township Historical Society.

Russell Schneider, the Director at the NOAA National Weather Service Prediction Center, understands having an emergency plan could save your life in times of severe weather.

"So the key is to have a plan and share it with your family, have an idea of what you would do when the weather professionals you listen to and trust are telling you that severe weather is possible," said Schneider.

Schneider  said the 1965 outbreak helped set the stage for modern day weather tracking advancements like Doppler Radars and numerical models.

"And now with the growth of super computing, going down to the scale of individual thunder storms is really incredible," said Schneider.

Ostuna encourages anyone looking for tools and resources on becoming severe weather ready to check out NOAA's Weather-Ready Nation website.

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