Severe Weather Awareness Week

This week is Severe Weather Awareness Week in the Twin Cities Metro Area, so don’t be surprised to hear sirens sounding at odd times this week.  If you live in White Bear Lake, North St. Paul, Mahtomedi, North Oaks or any of the cities in the metro, you know it’s important to be aware of the weather any time of the year. However, it’s especially important to pay attention to the weather in the summertime when severe storms can turn into tornadoes hardly any warning at all.

Tornado Drills This Week

This week the Minnesota Department of Public Safety will be conducting two statewide tornado drills. Severe weather sirens will be activated at 1:45 and 6:45 p.m. on Thursday, April 11 in the Twin Cities and surrounding communities. Residents are encouraged to practice their tornado drills at these times.

Purchase a Weather Radio

Residents are encouraged to purchase a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radio and sign up for weather alerts. The National Weather Service (NWS) and many local media outlets offer electronic alerting services that provide email, RSS feed or text messages to cell phones, computers or other devices, either directly or via services such as Facebook, Twitter or others. These messages are available by voluntary subscription and can provide local information on weather, including watches and warnings. The list below includes a sampling of various electronic alerting services in Minnesota:    

Why Severe Weather Awareness Week?

According to the National Weather Service, Minnesota experiences an average of 40 tornadoes per year. In 2012, 37 twisters touched down. A record was set in 2010 with 104 tornadoes across the state. Understanding this threat and knowing what to do when a tornado is approaching can save lives.
Take advantage of Severe Weather Awareness Week to review your own and your family’s emergency procedures and prepare for weather-related hazards.
Each day of the week focuses on a different weather safety topic:
Check each page link above for specific information about these topics, including factsheets, checklists, data and other resources.

How to Prepare for Severe Weather

Get an Emergency Kit – Power could go out due to a severe storm, you could be without electricity for a few days so be sure you have plenty of bottled water, canned or dried food and other personal supplies like medications on hand to get you through those days.

Create an Emergency Plan – Create a plan with your family and practice it. Where will you go if a storm hits, how will you communicate with other family members in the event of a tornado or severe storm. Make a plan and practice it so each family members feels secure in the event of an emergency.

Why are Sirens Activated – Sirens are activated for both severe weather and tornado warnings. Sirens can sound in specific zones or countywide. Sirens stop sounding after three minutes.

Again, it’s important to have a battery powered weather radio so you can remain informed in the event of severe weather.