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Trending Warmer & Drier for Thanksgiving Week

For eastern North Dakota and the northwest quarter of Minnesota, the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) 6-10 day outlooks, which cover the week of Thanksgiving, show near normal temperatures with high probabilities for below normal precipitation. Read More >

2018 Severe Summer Weather Awareness Week in North Dakota

April 30th through May 4th is Severe Summer Weather Awareness Week in North Dakota. More information on Severe Summer Weather Awareness Week activities in North Dakota can be obtained from the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services.

Tornado watch/warning drills will be held on Wednesday, May 2nd.  A schedule for the statewide tornado watch/warning drill appears at the bottom of the page.

Information on Siren Activation appears below.

Each day during our Severe Weather Awareness Week, a statement will be issued by the NWS Offices in Bismarck and Grand Forks providing more information about severe weather safety. The list of daily topics for Severe Weather Awareness Week will include:

Severe Weather Watches and Warnings, and How to Receive Severe Weather Information

Severe Thunderstorms, Hail, Wind and Lightning

Tornado Safety Information and Statewide Tornado Drill Day

Heat Waves

Flash Floods



Siren Activation Information


Counties and cities own the sirens, and therefore decide how and when to activate them. The National Weather Service does not sound them.

There are many different policies regarding siren activation that are used by the various cities and counties. Some will activate sirens across the entire county for tornado warnings only.  Others will activate sirens countywide for tornado warnings and all severe thunderstorm warnings. Some will activate sirens across the entire county for tornado warnings and severe thunderstorms that have winds of at least 70 or 75 mph. Others will activate sirens only for portions of counties.  Local officials may also sound the sirens anytime they believe severe weather is a threat, even if there is no warning from the National Weather Service.

Sirens normall sound for about three minutes, and then go silent.  It is very rare to keep the sirens sounding for the entire warning, since that would cause the backup battery to run out, which would be critical in the event that power goes out.  Furthermore, the siren motor will fail much more quickly if the siren sounds continuously.  Some jurisdictions may repeat siren activation every few minutes.

There is no such thing as an "all-clear" for storms.

Please check with your local public safety officials for details on when warning sirens are sounded in your community.


Tornado Watch/Warning Drills

The National Weather Service, the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services, and other state, county and local agencies have come together to host Severe Summer Weather Awareness Week activities. On Wednesday, May 2nd, simulated tornado watches and warnings will be issued to test the statewide warning and communications systems. The schedule for May 2nd is as follows:

(all times CDT)

11:15 AM:  The National Weather Service will issue a simulated tornado warning for all counties in North Dakota.  Unless other significant weather threatens, most locations will receive a "test" Tornado Warning (via weekly test message, RWT code) as part of the Tornado Drill initiation. 

Local jurisdictions will sound local sirens at their discretion.  The use of local sirens may be adjusted on a community by community basis.