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:

Tornado from June 11, 2004 in extreme northwest Howard County, IA Lightning in Abbotsford, WI. Shelf Cloud - 5 miles SW of Rochester, July 21, 2005

Today's Topic is Flash Flooding

Flash flooding is one of the top thunderstorm related killers.  Excessive thunderstorm rains can bring area creeks and streams up very quickly and can catch people off guard.

Usually problems arise when people do not respect the force of flowing water and try to cross flood waters on foot or with a vehicle.  They simply do not realize how much force flowing water can create.  It only takes 18 to 24 inches of water to make many vehicles float.  Even larger vehicles like trucks or SUVs can begin floating in a surprisingly small depth of water.

Most automobile related flash flood deaths occur when it is dark, as dangers are more difficult to recognize.

In August 2007, 8 people were killed from flash flooding in the region, when roads and bridges were damaged by the fast flowing water.  Also, the flooding mainly occurred at night, when people may not realize the dangers of driving into high water.

The best thing to do when  a Flash Flood Warning is issued or flash flooding is observed is to stay on high ground.  Never try to cross flood waters on foot or in a vehicle.  Respect the force of flowing water.  Be alert when camping near a creek or river, even if thunderstorms are not nearby.

Remember...Turn Around, Don't Drown.

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