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Monday, April 21, 2014

Keeping an eye to the sky

Submitted by: Mike Lovas, Saint Paul Emergency Management

After a long brutal winter, Minnesotans are itching to get outdoors and take advantage – unfortunately,  the weather doesn’t always cooperate.  Strong storms, tornadoes, flooding, and wild fires can occur with little to no warning. 
To prepare for these unique and potentially dangerous weather conditions, Severe Weather Awareness Week is planned for April 21-25.  To raise awareness, tornado drills will be conducted on Thursday, April 24 at 1:45 p.m. and 6:55 p.m. 

Severe Weather Awareness Week is a great time to talk with your family and friends about what to do in the event of severe weather.  Review your plans at home and work to know where to go and brush up on severe weather warning signs and how you’ll be alerted when the threat has passed.  Check your NOAA weather radio and review your emergency plans and kit.  If you don’t have a kit, make a kit for your home, car and office.  Remember to include important items such as closed-toe shoes, water, a whistle, medications, NOAA weather radio, children’s toys, baby food and diapers, pet food, etc. 

Severe Weather Tips:

  • Remember the 30/30 Lightning Safety Rule: Go indoors if, after seeing lightning, you cannot count to 30 before hearing thunder. Please stay indoors for 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder. 
  • Setup weather alerts on your smartphone or sign up for CodeRed, an emergency notification system to alert residents of important information or emergency warnings.  Remember, outdoor warning sirens are designed to warn people outside to go inside – it’s not designed to alert people inside that there is an approaching threat.  That’s why it’s important to have a NOAA weather radio handy.  Sirens normally sound for about three minutes, and then go silent. It is  rare to keep the sirens sounding the entire warning.  Remember, there is no such thing as an “all-clear” siren.

Lightning can strike at will. Tornadoes cause large devastation with little to no warning.  Take time to prepare yourself so you can enjoy the weather after a long winter.

For more on how to prepare for severe weather, visit this website.  For more information on Severe Weather Awareness Week, check out this page .

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