Severe Weather Awareness Week underway; drills are Thursday

Are you ready for severe weather?

Each year, Homeland Security and Emergency Management, in collaboration with the National Weather Service, sponsors Severe Weather Awareness Week in Minnesota.

The week is designed to refresh, remind and educate everyone about the seasonal threats from severe weather and how to avoid them. It’s also a great time for families to make and practice emergency plans and build or refresh emergency preparedness kits.

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.

The most important events during Severe Weather Awareness Week are the two annual statewide tornado drills. These drills are scheduled 1:45 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. on Thursday.

Outdoor warning sirens and NOAA Weather Radios will sound in a simulated tornado warning.

The first drill is intended for institutions and businesses. The evening drill is intended for second shift workers and families.

During both drills, The National Weather Service offices will issue another simulated tornado warning. NOAA Weather Radios will activate with the real TOR (tornado) code.

At 2 p.m. and at 7 p.m., The National Weather Service will issue an “End of Test” message after each drill, using the Severe Weather Statement.

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