MINNESOTA SEVERE WEATHER AWARENESS WEEK, TORNADO DRILLS
April 16, 2020
Beltrami County, MN - While in the midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Minnesota takes a moment to remember that other hazards will not take a break as we move into severe weather season. The week of April 13th-17th, 2020 is designated Minnesota Severe Weather Awareness Week. There are five topics for Severe Weather Awareness Week.
Alerts and Warnings: Have a source of NOAA Weather Radio and messaging for any severe weather alerts or warnings that may be activated. There are several apps available to provide weather information from commercial media outlets, Wireless Emergency Alerts and other sources. Know the difference between a watch and warning. Watches mean it is possible and warnings means it is happening or likely to happen.
Storms, Hail and Lightning: Thunderstorms can produce damaging winds comparable to significant tornadoes, exceeding 125mph in the most intense straight-line winds and can cause incredible destruction. Hail causes around a billion dollars in damage a year and are the result of strong thunderstorm updrafts. Lightning kills nearly 50 Americans annually in injuries many more. Remember: “When thunder roars, go indoors!” and for our neighbors who are deaf and hard of hearing, “See a flash, dash inside!”
Flooding and Flash Floods: Storms can produce very heavy rainfall resulting in flooding. The most dangerous flooding is flash flooding. Torrential rainfall can rapidly runoff, washing out roadways, floating vehicles and inundating dwellings. If you encounter a flooded roadway: “Turn around, don’t drown!” Most flood related deaths occur in vehicles.
Tornado Drill Day: Beltrami County will be participating in two tornado drills on Thursday, April 16th at 1:45PM and 6:45PM. Businesses and other facilities are encouraged to share information with occupants where safe sheltering options are. Due to COVID-19 Pandemic social distancing concerns, Beltrami County Emergency Management is discouraging congregating in sheltering locations for the drill. In an actual need for severe weather sheltering, the designated sheltering locations should be utilized. Families are encouraged to review their severe weather response plans and ensure their shelter location is known by all family members. Outdoor warning sirens will sound at 1:45PM and 6:45PM, however CodeRED Community Alerts will not be delivered.
Extreme Heat: Despite winter 2019-2020 wanting to linger well into spring, we know it will eventually warm up, and likely to dangerous levels at some point this summer. Heat ailments can be dangerous when the body loses the ability to cool itself. Never leave children or pets in vehicles! Even on warm sunny days, vehicles can reach lethal temperatures. Cars act like greenhouses and heat very rapidly.
SKYWARN: Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, there will be no Skywarn (Severe Weather Spotter) training offered in Beltrami County in 2020. The National Weather Service in Duluth is offering online courses, visit http://www.weather.gov/dlh and click on “local programs” and go to “Skywarn”, the Grand Forks Office also has online training at http://www.weather.gov/fgf and click on “local programs” and go to “Skywarn”.
-Christopher Muller, Emergency Management Director
Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office