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2024 Severe Weather Awareness Week

(April 2, 2024) - Beltrami County will join other Minnesota Emergency Management Agencies participating in Severe Weather Awareness Week to promote weather safety as we transition to our summer storm season. April 8-12, 2024 is designated Minnesota Severe Weather Awareness Week with each day having a hazard topic addressing seasonal hazards. New this year is the addition of wildfire awareness. Throughout the week, additional information will be posted to the Beltrami County Emergency Management Facebook page.

Alerts and Warnings are the daily topic for Monday. All Minnesotans should have access to emergency weather alerts. These can be on mobile devices through apps, broadcast media or a weather radio. Know the difference between watches, warnings and advisories. Watches mean conditions are favorable for severe weather, while warnings mean severe weather is occurring or imminent.

Storms, hail and lightning are highlighted on Tuesday. Minnesota is impacted by severe weather every summer and brings a myriad of hazards from strong winds, large hail, tornadoes and deadly lightning. Straight-line winds from thunderstorms can produce winds over 100mph, so there doesn’t have to be a tornado for destructive winds. Large hail can be dangerous and damaging, destroying crops and causing property damage. Beltrami County has experienced baseball size hail in recent years, stripping trees of their branches and leaves. Lightning strikes can be deadly, “When thunder roars, go indoors.”

Wednesday’s topic is flooding. Flooding, especially rapidly developing flash flooding, can be dangerous. Never drive through flooded roadways with water flowing over them. The roadway may be compromised or washed out, and you don’t know how deep the water is. Six inches of flowing water can knock over an adult, while twelve inches of flowing water can float some vehicles. Most flooding deaths resulted from people being caught in vehicles, especially at night. If you encounter flooded roadways, “Turn around, don’t drown.”

Tornado drill day is Thursday, April 11, 2024. There will be two tornado drills, the first at 1:45pm and is intended for schools, businesses and workplaces to practice their tornado plans. The second drill is at 6:45pm and allows families an opportunity to practice their tornado plans at home. Outdoor warning sirens will be activated. During a tornado, seek shelter in a sturdy structure and get below ground if possible. If no basement is available, get on the lowest floor of your building in an interior room with no exterior walls or windows. If severe weather is possible on tornado drill day, the drill will not take place.

Extreme heat and wildfire awareness are Friday’s topic. While Minnesota is better known for extreme cold, it can get hot during the summer months. When excessive heat is expected, avoid rigorous outdoor activity and schedule activities during the cooler periods of the day. Drink plenty of water and seek medical treatment for heat injuries. Never leave children or pets in vehicles. On warm sunny days, cars act like greenhouses and temperatures can quickly warm to deadly levels. With persistent drought, wildfires have also been an increasing hazard for Minnesota. During high fire danger days, avoid burning or having potential ignition sources. Red Flag Warnings are issued when a combination of low humidity, warm temperatures and strong winds result in conditions favorable for rapid wildfire growth. Protect your home by having a defensible space by clearing trees and brush away from your home.

-Christopher Muller, Emergency Management Director

 

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