Article written by Parker Kieser 

This week in April is Severe Weather Awareness Week in Minnesota, from April 4th – April 8th. This article will focus on each safety topic from Monday through Friday. To quickly find a specific day, look for the bold headings. To get more details on the specific days, click the links in the detail portion. 


Monday’s topic is weather alerts and warnings. In our modern age, weather alerts can be delivered to you in many ways. You can get alerts on the radio, television, NOAA Weather Radio, or online. Some counties even offer services where you can sign up to get alerts texted to you, a phone call, and an email. Check with your county’s Emergency Management division to see if this service is available to you. The National Weather Service uses the terms advisory, watch, and warning to describe the effect of a certain weather event. A watch is issued when conditions are favorable for dangerous weather to occur. A warning is issued when dangerous weather is about to happen soon. An advisory is issued when hazardous weather is occurring or is likely to occur. Click here to watch a video on the differences between a watch and a warning. 



Tuesday’s topic is storms, hail, and lightning. Thunderstorms affect relatively small areas compared with most other storms. The typical thunderstorm is 15 miles in diameter and lasts for 30 minutes — but whatever their size, all thunderstorms are dangerous. Thunderstorms can produce straight-line winds that exceed 100 miles per hour. Storms like this can produce hail, straight-line winds, and lightning. Every thunderstorm has lightning. Lightning kills about 100 Americans every year, which is more than tornadoes. Lightning causes $1 billion dollars in damage each year. Click here to watch a video on lightning safety. More information regarding the myths regarding lightning can be found here. 

Image: National Weather Service 



Wednesday’s topic is Flooding and Flash Floods. You may have heard of the phrase “Turn Around, Don’t Drown.” Remember to never drive through standing water. You will never know how deep the water may be. Many people think that flooding happens in the eastern part of the country. Flooding can happen everywhere, including Hawaii and Alaska. Remember to get to high ground, avoid areas that are already flooded, and make sure kids do not play near high water during or after a flood. Click here to watch a video on flood safety. 

Image: National Weather Service 



Thursday’s severe weather topic is Tornadoes. Tornadoes are one of the most deadly threats during severe weather seasons. If you are in your home during a tornado-warned storm, head to the lowest level or interior room. Put as many walls between you and the storm as possible. There will be two tornado drills in Minnesota at 1:45 PM and 6:45 PM on Thursday, April 7th, 2022.  The links below are videos on before, during, and after a tornado. 

Image: National Weather Service 


Extreme heat is the last topic of severe weather awareness week in Minnesota. From 2000 -2010, 35 deaths were directly caused by extreme heat in Minnesota. August and July are months that can be very warm. The National Weather Service will issue heat advisories, excessive heat warnings, and excessive heat watches depending on the temperatures that are expected. The heat index is a scale that can be used to determine what it feels like outside. Below is the heat index chart from the National Weather Service. 


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