NWS Twin Cities Home Page » Severe Weather Awareness Week
2014 Severe Weather Awareness Week in Minnesota and Wisconsin
April 21st through the 25th 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 21st through the 25th is also Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness Week in the state of Wisconsin. More information can be obtained from Wisconsin Emergency Management .
Tornado watch/warning drills will be held on Thursday, April 24th. 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 21st - Weather Alerts and Warnings
Tuesday, April 22nd - Severe Storms, Lightning, Wind and Hail
Wednesday, April 23rd - Flash Floods
Thursday, April 24th - Tornado Safety Information
Friday, April 25th - Extreme Heat
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. On Thursday, April 24th, simulated tornado watches and warnings will be issued to test the statewide warning and communications systems. The schedule for April 24th is as follows:
(all times CDT)
1:00 PM: The National Weather Service will issue a simulated tornado watch for Minnesota and Wisconsin.
1:45 PM: The National Weather Service will issue a simulated tornado warning all of Wisconsin. Note that most cities and counties will activate outdoor warning siren systems.
1:45 PM: The National Weather Service will issue a simulated tornado warning for Minnesota counties. Note that most cities and counties will activate outdoor warning siren systems.
2:00 PM: The National Weather Service will issue an "End of Test" message using the Severe Weather Statement product. It should be stated that outdoor warning sirens will not be sounded again for this all clear, nor will there be any warning tone on NOAA Weather Radio.
6:55 PM: Another simulated tornado warning will be issued for Minnesota counties.
The 6:55 PM warning will be issued by the six National Weather Service offices that serve Minnesota. It will be issued as a test of family preparedness in the home and for second shift workers.
For the Minnesota and Wisconsin warnings, a TOR code (tornado warning) will be used to activate the broadcast on NOAA Weather Radios.
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.