Today is tornado drill day in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
The sirens will sound in most areas today. Here’s the rundown from Twin Cities NWS.
(all times CDT)
1:00 PM: The National Weather Service will issue a simulated tornado watch for Minnesota and Wisconsin.
1:40 PM: The National Weather Service will issue a simulated tornado warning for 9 counties of western Wisconsin (Barron, Chippewa, Dunn, Eau Claire, Pepin, Pierce, Polk, Rusk and St Croix). Note that most cities and counties will activate outdoor warning siren systems.
1:45 PM: The National Weather Service will issue a simulated tornado warning for Minnesota counties (except those in the northwestern part of the state). Note that most cities and counties will activate outdoor warning siren systems.
2:00 PM: The National Weather Service will issue an “End of Test” message using the Severe Weather Statement product. It should be stated that outdoor warning sirens will not be sounded again for this all clear, nor will there be any warning tone on NOAA Weather Radio.
6:55 PM: Another simulated tornado warning will be issued for 73 participating counties in Minnesota. Those counties not participating are: Aitkin, Carlton, Hubbard, Itasca, Kanabec, Kittson, Lincoln, Otter Tail, Pennington, Pipestone, Sibley, St. Louis, Watonwan and Wilkin.
A graphic of the counties participating in the evening drill is available at http://www.severeweather.state.mn.us/Documents/Participating_Counties_Drill_Map_2010.pdf
The 6:55 PM warning will be issued by the six National Weather Service offices that serve Minnesota. It will be issued as a test of family preparedness in the home and for second shift workers.
Last year was unusually quiet for severe weather in Minnesota. Drought dominated much of spring and summer. Things picked up in August, when a tornado hit western Lake Minnetonka in early August and 11 tornadoes raced through the area on August 19th.
A total of 24 tornadoes were reported in Minnesota last year, far below the annual average of 41 for the past 30 years or so. So far 2010 is off to a very quiet start for tornadoes nationwide.
Here are some excellent resources for severe weather information from Twin Cities NWS.
Today is a good day to think about what you will do when the sirens sound for real this year.