National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

April 13th through the 17th is Severe Weather Awareness Week in Minnesota. More information on Severe Weather Awareness Week activities in Minnesota can be obtained from the Minnesota Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

April 13th through the 17th is also Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness Week in the state of Wisconsin. More information can be obtained from Wisconsin Emergency Management.

Information about severe weather awareness will also be available on our Twitter feed and Facebook page.

Severe weather safety information can also be found on NOAA's Weather Ready Nation web site.


Tornado watch/warning drills will be held on Thursday, April 16th.  A schedule for the tornado watch/warning drills appears at the bottom of the page.


Information on Siren Activation appears below.


Information about various topics on severe weather safety will be presented each day by the NWS Twin Cities. The list of daily topics for Severe Weather Awareness Week is:

Monday, April 13th - Weather Alerts and Warnings

Tuesday, April 14th - Severe Storms, Lightning, and Hail

Wednesday, April 15th - Floods

Thursday, April 16th - Tornadoes

Friday, April 17th - Extreme Heat

 


 

Tornado Watch/Warning Drills

The National Weather Service, Wisconsin Emergency Management, the Minnesota Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, and other state, county and local agencies have come together to host Severe Weather Awareness Week activities. Thursday, April 16th is the day for tornado drills and working on your safety plans.  The schedule for April 16th is as follows:

(all times CDT)

1:45 PM:  Most counties in Wisconsin and Minnesota will activate outdoor warning siren systems and other notification systems. The choice to activate sirens is a decision made by the counties and cities. The NWS and others will also post on social media but will not activate NOAA Weather Radio.

6:45 PM:  Many counties in Minnesota will activate outdoor warning siren systems and other notification systems. The choice to activate sirens is a decision made by the counties and cities. The NWS and others will post on social media but will not activate NOAA Weather Radio.

 


 

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 normally 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.