Severe Weather Awareness Week: Plan ahead to survive tornadoes
Ah, springtime in Minnesota - that period between snowstorms and thunderstorms.
While the beauty of the season outweighs the dangers, weather experts say now is the time to be aware of and prepare for the severe weather that affects the state each year.
Severe Weather Awareness Week is sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS), the American Red Cross and the National Weather Service to promote the planning that saves lives when weather sirens sound.
This year's event takes place April 20-24, with statewide tornado drills on Thursday, April 23.
Douglas County will conduct two tornado drills on Thursday - a statewide drill at 1:45 p.m. for schools and businesses and another at 6:55 p.m. for second-shift workers and those at home.
"Severe weather events are not entirely predictable, and that's why it's essential to plan," said Todd Krause of the National Weather Service. "At home or out-and-about, you must know how to react, because that siren may be the only warning you get."
According to the National Weather Service, every Minnesota county has experienced tornadoes in the last 56 years.
A total of 66 of Minnesota's 87 counties will hold the evening drill.
A Severe Weather Awareness Week website - www.severeweather.
state.mn.us - provides details on daily weather topics, links to information for families and businesses, statistics, survival instructions, and even historical facts and photos.
Most information is available in languages other than English, and links provide access to other resources.
In real weather emergencies, Minnesotans can tune to National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radio for watches, warnings and forecasts around the clock. The NOAA system covers the entire state.