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SEVERE WEATHER AWARENESS WEEK 2014

The week of April 21st-25th, 2014 has been designated Minnesota Severe Weather Awareness Week, a campaign promoted by the National Weather Service, local Emergency Management Agencies, and the State of Minnesota’s Department of Public Safety Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. Beltrami County is announcing their participation in this important campaign and encourages all of our citizens, visitors, businesses and institutions to participate. Each day of the week will have a specific summer hazard to address.

Monday, April 21st: Alerts and Warnings. During the summer months a number of different watches and warnings may be issued. Severe thunderstorm watches and tornado watches are the most common. Watches mean that conditions exist and are favorable for the development of severe weather or tornadoes. When those threats are imminent or occurring, warnings are issued. NOAA Weather Radios or a media source with Emergency Alert System preemption is the quickest way to receive emergency weather information.

Tuesday, April 22nd: Severe Weather, Lightning and Hail. Summer brings with it the inherent risk of dangerous weather. You don’t need tornadoes to produce significant and destructive winds, as much of the region found out on July 2nd and 4th, 2012 when straight-line winds caused extensive damage. While tornadoes aren’t as common, they can be particularly devastating with concentrated areas of absolute destruction. Lightning strikes are often lethal and can happen even when it isn’t raining and can strike over 10 miles from the actual storm. Another threat is hail, and results in approximately a billion dollars in damage in the United States each year.

Wednesday, April 23rd: Flooding and Flash Flooding. Flooding, especially flash flooding can be difficult to forecast and prepare for and often times have a very rapid onset. If you encounter flooded roadways, do not chance it as you do not know how deep the water is or if the road has been washed out. TURN AROUND, DON’T DROWN! As little as a foot of flowing water can float most vehicles. Of the 200 people killed each year by flooding, 75% of them died at night and half of them were in their vehicles.

Thursday, April 24th: Tornado Drill Day. Tornadoes can be scary, especially to young ones or those that haven’t experienced them. Knowing what to do before a tornado is observed or a tornado warning is issued is important. Know where to shelter at home, school or work. To help you practice your weather response plan, there will be two simulated tornado warnings issued. The first will take place at 1:45PM and the second at 6:55PM. Remember that in Beltrami County, outdoor warning sirens are also used for intense severe thunderstorms where winds over 70mph are expected in addition to tornado warnings. Make sure to listen for the expiration time in the warning and keep a source of weather information close as no “all clear” message will be transmitted.

Friday, April 25th: Extreme Heat. Doing work in extreme heat is not only uncomfortable, it can also be dangerous. Take frequent breaks and drink plenty of non-alcoholic beverages and avoid excessive activity outdoors. Never leave children or pets in vehicles as they tend to act like a greenhouse and can rapidly heat to temperatures in excess of 130 degrees. Heat related medicals develop when the body loses the ability to cool itself. Heat ailments are emergencies and should be treated immediately and 911 notified. Remove the victim from the heat source and cool them, but not too rapidly.

Additional information can be found by visiting the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s website or by visiting the Beltrami County Emergency Management facebook page where information will be posted daily.

-Christopher Muller, Director of Emergency Management

ph.218.333.8386 chris.muller@co.beltrami.mn.us

 

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