As we enter the spring and summer storm season, the National Weather Service will be conducting a tornado drill in both Minnesota and Wisconsin today (April 24). The drill is designed to do a number of things, which include testing warning equipment, making the public aware of warning methods, and creating general storm awareness. The National Weather Service encourages the public to treat these drills as an opportunity to practice your plan of action in the event of an actual tornado.

Here Is What To Know

  • At 1:00 pm today, the National Weather Service will issue an exercise tornado watch, simulating something that happens with stormy conditions that may produce tornadoes.
  • At 1:45 pm, a test tornado warning will be issued. Civil alert sirens will go off and emergency broadcast messages on radio and television will be broadcast at this time.
  • At 2:00 pm the National Weather Service will issue an "end of test" message.
  • Again at 6:55 pm tonight, another test tornado warning will be issued. The same procedures as the the 1:45 pm test will be followed.
  • At 7:10 pm the National Weather Service will issue an "end of test" message.
Something to remember as storm season approaches are what the different terms mean.
  • TORNADO WATCH means that conditions are favorable for the potential development of tornadoes
  • TORNADO WARNING means that tornadic activity has either been indicated by radar or spotted by a trained spotter. When a warning is issued for your area, it is important to take action immediately.

How To Prepare

The National Weather Service and the Federal Government's website encourage you to have a plan of action in the event of a tornado, and today is a good day to discuss and practice said plan. Here are the recommendations they offer:

A structure (e.g. residence, small building, school, nursing home, hospital, factory, shopping center, high-rise building)
  • Go to a pre-designated area such as a safe room, basement, storm cellar, or the lowest building level. If there is no basement, go to the center of a small interior room on the lowest level (closet, interior hallway) away from corners, windows, doors, and outside walls. Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside. Get under a sturdy table and use your arms to protect your head and neck.
  • In a high-rise building, go to a small interior room or hallway on the lowest floor possible.
  • Put on sturdy shoes.
  • Do not open windows.
A manufactured home or office
  • Get out immediately and go to a pre-identified location such as the lowest floor of a sturdy, nearby building or a storm shelter. Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes.
The outside with no shelter
  • Immediately get into a vehicle, buckle your seat belt and try to drive to the closest sturdy shelter.
  • If your vehicle is hit by flying debris while you are driving, pull over and park.
  • Stay in the car with the seat belt on. Put your head down below the windows; cover your head with your hands and a blanket, coat or other cushion if possible.
  • If you can safely get noticeably lower than the level of the roadway, leave your car and lie in that area, covering your head with your hands
  • Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location.
  • Never try to outrun a tornado in urban or congested areas in a car or truck. Instead, leave the vehicle immediately for safe shelter.
  • Watch out for flying debris. Flying debris from tornadoes causes most fatalities and injuries.

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