Sheriff wants residents to be prepared for severe weather
Dakota County Sheriff Dave Bellows wants to remind citizens that the week of April 11-15 is Severe Weather Awareness Week. This event is sponsored by the National Weather Service and is intended to raise everyone's awareness as we enter into the severe weather season. As part of Severe Weather Awareness Week, a tornado drill will be held on Thursday, April 14.
Schools and businesses are encouraged to practice emergency plans during the statewide tornado drill at 1:45 p.m. on Thursday. A second drill at 6:55 p.m. will take place in most counties to allow families and second-shift workers to practice sheltering plans.
Historically, early springtime is flood season in Minnesota -- but in 1998 it was late March when violent storms brought 13 tornadoes to the cities of St. Peter and Comfrey. The tornadoes that struck Rogers on Sept. 16, 2006, and Hugo on May 25, 2008, also prove that these early season storms can be deadly.
Between March and September of 2010, Minnesota experienced a record 113 tornadoes (the most in the U.S.), with a total of 48 on a single day in June.
The lesson from these events is that Minnesota weather hazards can happen anytime and anywhere, and the key to maintaining your personal safety and well-being is to be aware of the threats, be prepared and know how to receive and respond to warnings.
The policy in Dakota County is to sound outdoor warning devices when the National Weather Service has issued a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for cities in Dakota County. The NWS and local media do an excellent job of notification on incoming severe thunderstorms. The sirens are just another notification tool to advise citizens to turn on a radio or TV to see where the storms are and determine their best course of action.
Severe thunderstorms can generate winds in excess of 65 miles per hour that cause structural damage; damaging hail as big as tennis balls; heavy rain that can cause flash flooding; lightning, which causes more deaths than hurricanes and tornadoes each year; and tornadoes.
During severe weather season, always be aware of the weather conditions around you. Be ready to seek shelter when the weather turns nasty. Have an emergency kit at home and ensure all family members know where the kit is located. To help you put together an emergency kit visit the following www.ready.gov/america/getakit/