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Severe Weather Awareness Week Alerts & Warnings

The Minnesota Department of Homeland Security Emergency Management provides us with information about the severe weather season during Severe Weather Awareness Week.

According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Minnesota experiences an average of 29 tornadoes annually. In 2021, Minnesota recorded 64 tornadoes, including 22 on December 15 alone, which were the most recent tornadoes ever reported.

A record was set in 2010 as 113 tornadoes struck across the state.

Understanding this threat and knowing what to do when a hurricane approaches can save lives.

Take advantage of Severe Weather Awareness Week to review your and your family’s emergency procedures and prepare for weather-related hazards.

Each day of the week focuses on a different topic of air safety:

Today we deal with alerts and warnings.

Tuesday: severe weather, lightning, hail and straight line winds

Wednesday: Flood

Thursday: Tornado training day with Tornado. The exercises will be conducted with the sirens going off in the afternoon and evening so that people can practice what to do when the siren is real. All communities in Rice County participate in both exercises, according to Hor Schmitz.

Friday: Extreme heat

During last week’s local severe weather awareness show on KDHL with local weather watchers Jennifer Hauer Schmitz, John Rowan and Dustin Denst, we learned that Schmitz’s most frequently asked question is always the difference between a watch and a warning.

Schmitz is the director of emergency management for Rice County. She says since she started in her position about 15 years ago, technology has allowed us to receive warnings and other information almost instantly on our mobile devices.

Denst, director of emergency management for the city of Faribault, confirmed that officials want everyone in Faribault to sign up for Everbridge’s emergency notification system.

Rice County and Steele County also own the Everbridge system while Goodhue County and others across the country have Code Red.

They all provide people with the notifications they want in the format they require, but they also require you to sign up to send them to your favorite mobile device or all of your mobile devices.

The National Weather Service issues alerts, watches, and warnings about severe weather.

The advisories are just what the information on the National Weather Service that advises the public says that we may be at increased risk of experiencing severe weather during a specified time frame.

It can be a warning about severe thunderstorms that have harmful hail, straight line winds, frequent dangerous lightning, or rainfall of an inch or more per hour.

The clock means that conditions are just as good as the clock says. It could be the Flood Watch, the Thunderstorm Watch, or the Tornado Watch.

Warning means that the indicated severe weather (flood, thunderstorm, storm) has been observed heading in a certain direction or detected by radar indicating that it is heading in a particular direction.

If you haven’t registered with your community’s emergency notification system, now is the time to do so. This way when severe weather hits, you’ll get a notification as soon as the siren goes off.

When the sirens go off, the first thing to do is tune in to a KDHL or POWER 96 radio and listen to KDHL on 97.9 FM if possible as it frees you from the crackling and static associated with AM radio.

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