To the anticipation of many, winter is nearing an end. It’s time to start preparing for warmer weather. Along with warmer temperatures, we face the weather hazards which are common during the spring and summer months.
April 21-25 is Severe Weather Awareness Week, a time to remind Minnesotans about inevitable storms, lightning, wind, floods and tornadoes, and to provide people with information necessary to protect their lives when severe weather threatens.
Stearns County’s Emergency Management Department encourages every family and business to take the opportunity during this week to build awareness of storm dangers and to put weather emergency plans into action. “There’s no substitute for practice when the real thing comes along,” said Erin Hausauer, Emergency Management Director.
Subjects for Severe Weather Awareness Week are
Monday: Alerts and warnings - Learn when and why your community sounds its outdoor warning sirens and what action to take when they are activated. Stearns County’s severe weather warning system video contains often misunderstood information about the outdoor warning siren system. The video can be found on the County’s website and YouTube page. Also, review what action to take if you are driving during a tornado warning. Severe Weather Awareness Week is a great opportunity to talk with your children and elderly parents to ensure they know proper procedures.
Tuesday: Thunderstorms, Lightning and Hail - Every thunderstorm produces lightning. Learn the myths and facts surrounding lightning as well as more on severe storms and hail.
Wednesday: Floods - Spring flooding and flash flooding combine to produce some of the most dangerous and costly disasters in Minnesota. Find an important checklist and learn how to prepare for and respond to flooding.
Thursday: Tornadoes - Review tornado safety information on the website. Two statewide tornado drills will take place Thursday. The first drill is at 1:45 p.m. and allows schools and businesses to practice their emergency plans. The second drill is at 6:55 p.m. This drill allows families to practice their plans at home.
Friday: Heat – Heat claims more lives each year than any other weather-related event. Learn how to recognize heat-
“It can be difficult to get people to take this topic seriously,” said Hausauer. “But as we see all too often, severe weather does happen, and the consequences can be serious. Dangerous storms are common in Minnesota. That one time it could happen to you.”
Resources, safety and preparedness tips, and other information can be found on the Stearns County website at co.stearns.mn.us.