By decree of Punxsutawney Phil – and the calendar – spring is just around the corner! For Michigan residents that means warmer temperatures, blooming flowers, Detroit Tigers baseball…and the beginning of storm season.

Storm season typically starts in late March, peaks in July and runs through August into early September. This is due to warmer weather bringing moisture and humidity to the air, which brings instability to the atmosphere, resulting in the potential for severe weather.

If you’ve lived in Michigan for a summer, you know what to expect: thunderstorms, strong winds and the occasional unavoidable power outage. And at DTE, we want you to be prepared. Follow these tips to make sure you and your family stay safe this spring and summer:

Know the difference between a severe thunderstorm watch and a severe thunderstorm warning.

Severe thunderstorm watch – a storm is possible and near the watch area. Monitor the situation and be prepared to act if a warning is issued.

Severe thunderstorm warning – severe weather has been reported or indicated by radar; an imminent danger to your safety and property is present. Take cover in a substantial building or vehicle with the windows closed.

Have an emergency plan and kit in place

Severe weather is at its worst when it catches us by surprise. However, the good news is we can all develop a plan to be prepared. To stay informed about what weather is heading your way, download the new WDIV Local4Casters Weather app, powered by DTE. It’s available for free from the Apple or Google Play store for your smartphone, or you can check it out on the TV station’s website

For your emergency plan, consider what weather events are most likely to occur in your area, the unique needs of your family and household, and remember that practice makes perfect.

Items to include in your emergency kit include: battery-operated flashlight and extra batteries; NOAA weather radio; candles and holders; matches; first-aid kit; a three- to five-day supply of bottled water and non-perishable food; blankets and sleeping bags; and cash.

Prevent costly basement flooding

If you live in an area prone to flooding, consider a battery backup for your sump pump if you have one. A small investment can prevent some costly issues after a Michigan rainstorm.

Download the DTE Energy mobile app

When you do, you’ll be able to report an outage from your mobile device, and receive real-time updates via email, text messages or push notifications. The mobile app also gives you access to our new Outage Center, which provides key information during storms. Click here to download the app from the Apple Store or Google Play.

Visit outage.dteenergy.com during storms for real-time updates on impact and restoration estimates. Or, follow DTE on Facebook and Twitter for updates on all things DTE.