Severe Weather Awareness Week

    Minnesota’s “Severe Weather Awareness Week” is underway through April 12, 2019.  Normally, jurisdictions throughout the state would have two statewide tornado drills on Thursday of Awareness Week, but the strong winter storm expected to impact most of the State has led to a decision to cancel those tests.  If the tests had been completed, outdoor warning sirens and NOAA weather radios would have sounded in a simulated tornado warning. 

     Although you won’t hear test sirens on Thursday, we encourage families and businesses to conduct their own mini preparedness drill and to talk about what you would do in the event of a real emergency.  One of the things to discuss with your family and co-workers is the terms used when advisories are issued: 

     Tornado/Severe Thunderstorm “WATCH” - means that conditions are favorable for the development of tornadoes or severe thunderstorms.  When a watch is issued for Nicollet County, pay close attention to the weather and make sure that everyone in your family knows the correct action to take if the weather gets worse.

     Tornado/Severe Thunderstorm “WARNING” - means a tornado or severe thunderstorm has been reported or is indicated by weather radar.  Warning information includes the tornado or storm’s location, direction and speed.  If the warning is issued for our portion of Nicollet County, TAKE SHELTER IMMEDIATELY.

     Warning sirens are tested year round on the first Wednesday of each month at 1:00 p.m. to assure that the sirens will work in the event of an actual emergency.  If you hear the steady tone of a siren at any other time, it means that severe weather has been sighted in our area and you should take shelter immediately. 

     There is no all clear siren, so take a battery powered radio with you to the shelter so you can monitor when it is safe to emerge.  More information on these topics is available on the Minnesota Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management website at https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/hsem/weather-awareness-preparedness/Pages/severe-weather-awareness-week-program.aspx.

     Summertime is meant for enjoying outdoor activities, but if you hear thunder, that means lightning is close enough to put you in danger so remember the motto….”When it Roars, Go Indoors!” Lightning is one of the top storm-related killers in the United States and when thunderstorms are in the area and you hear thunder, it’s time to get indoors and stay there for 30 minutes after the last roar of thunder.   

     If you would like more information about severe storms preparedness please call the Saint Peter Police Department (931-1550) or Nicollet County Emergency Management (934-7874).  The severe weather information contained in today’s Hot Sheet includes information from the Minnesota Division of Homeland Security website.