Minnesota/Wisconsin Severe Weather Awareness Week (Updated Daily)

The National Weather Service, along with the Homeland Security and Emergency Management offices in Minnesota and Wisconsin have designated the week of April 20-24, 2009 as Severe Weather Awareness/Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness Week, in their respective states.   This is a great time to get educated about the dangers of severe weather, and it is encouraged to go over safety plans to prepare yourself for when severe weather strikes.

In order to prepare for the severe weather season, statewide tornado drills will take place on Thursday afternoon, between 1 pm and 2 pm.  There will also be a tornado drill conducted Thursday evening, at 6:55 pm, but only for participating counties in Minnesota.  In the local area, the counties involved in this evening tornado drill will be Wabasha, Olmsted, Winona, and Mower.  These practice watches and warnings may be treated as the real thing, and is therefore a great opportunity to practice what you would do if faced with life-threatening severe weather. 

**Should severe weather be present anywhere within Minnesota and Wisconsin on the day of the drill, the test watch and warnings will be postponed until Friday.

There will be themes being highlighted throughout the week, which include:

  • Monday:   Severe Thunderstorms
  • Tuesday:   Products Used by the National Weather Service
  • Wednesday:   Flash Flooding
  • Thursday:   Tornadoes
  • Friday:   NOAA All Hazards Weather Radio

Please check out our Severe Weather Awareness Page to get important information about the above topics, along with other information to prepare yourself for the severe weather season. 

Other links that may be of interest:


Today's Topic is Products Used by the National Weather Service

HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK  -  An outlook provides a heads up to storm spotters and emergency management, mainly for planning purposes.  It provides information out to seven days on possible hazardous weather.  During times of severe weather, an outlook might provide guidance on when severe weather is expected, what type of severe weather may occur, and what actions spotters and emergency management should take to prepare.

WATCH  -  A watch is issued when the possibility of severe weather exists.  This is a planning and monitoring stage.  Conditions are favorable for some type of severe weather to develop or move into the area, usually within the next 2 to 6 hours.  People should monitor the latest weather information in case a warning is issued for their area.  During outdoor festivals or fairs, planning should be in place for when severe weather moves in.  A watch is also initial notification to storm spotters for possible deployment.

Types of watches include the following...Tornado Watch, Severe Thunderstorm Watch, or Flash Flood Watch.  Watches are issued by the Storm Prediction Center or the local National Weather Service Office.

WARNING  -  A warning means severe weather is imminent for your area.  Either severe weather has been reported or the storm in question appears severe based on Doppler Radar.  This is an action stage.  People should heed the warning and take whatever action is needed to protect themselves or property.

Types of warnings might include a Tornado Warning, Severe Thunderstorm Warning, or Flash Flood Warning.  All Warnings are issued by the local National Weather Service Office.

In most cases, this tier approach would give people advance notice of the possibility of severe weather.  There are times when local warnings are issued without a watch in effect.  This usually happens when severe weather is not expected to become widespread or organized.

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