Severe Weather Awareness Week Set for April 11 to 15
The week of April 11th-15th, 2016 is designated as Minnesota Severe Weather Awareness Week to allow all Minnesotans an opportunity to refresh their awareness and response to severe summer weather and summer weather hazards. Each day of the week has a weather hazard. Beltrami County Emergency Management encourages all of our citizens and visitors to not only make a plan, but practice that plan and participate in the state-wide tornado drills.
Monday’s hazard topic is alert and warnings. The National Weather Service provides weather information including forecasts, hazard outlooks and warnings 24 hours a day 7 days a week. These alerts and warnings are relayed through NOAA Weather Radio as well as the Emergency Alert System on most broadcast stations. It is important to know the difference between watches and warnings; watches mean severe weather or tornadoes are possible and warnings means they are happening, likely to happen or imminent.
Tuesday’s hazard topic is severe weather, lightning and hail. In addition to tornadoes, Minnesota is vulnerable to many other types of severe weather including damaging thunderstorm wind, deadly lightning strikes and destructive hail. Severe thunderstorms can produce winds as strong as some tornadoes, exceeding 100 miles per hour. Lightning strikes are also very dangerous, remember the saying… when thunder roars, go indoors. Hail is the result of rain reaching the freezing temperatures in the tops of thunderstorms and causes approximately a billion dollars in damage annually.
Wednesdays’ hazard topic is floods. In Minnesota, flooding has killed more people than any other weather event. Nearly 200 people die each year across the country due to flooding and have forced the evacuation of 300,000 people. If you are vulnerable to flooding explore what mitigation opportunities are available to reduce flooding impacts and check on your eligibility for the flood insurance. Everyone should have an emergency kit prepared and ready to go, whether you have to evacuate due to floods or other emergencies.
Thursday is tornado drill day. Two state-wide tornado drills will take place, the first at 1:45PM and the second at 6:55PM. Outdoor warning sirens will be activated for both drills as well as TEST tornado warnings from the National Weather Service. In Beltrami County, outdoor warning sirens are used for tornado warnings and intense severe thunderstorms with winds in excess of 70mph. Identify a place of shelter before you need it. Put as many walls between you and the tornado as possible and get as low to the ground as you can.
Friday’s hazard topic is extreme heat. Despite being home to the Nation’s Ice Box and famous for snow and cold, Minnesota does experience dangerous heat in the summer months. Familiarize yourself with heat related medical emergencies and when temperatures are extreme avoid strenuous outdoor activity and check on the elderly. Never leave children or pets in vehicles as cars act like a green houses and temperatures can reach lethal levels in minutes.
If you would like additional information on Severe Weather Awareness and the daily hazard topics, please visit Beltrami County Emergency Management’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/BeltramiCountyEmergencyManagement .