Simulated tornado warnings are part of Severe Weather Awareness Week
For more than 20 years, the state of Minnesota has conducted Severe Weather Awareness Week in partnership with the National Weather Service and local governments. On Thursday, April 18, simulated tornado watches and warnings will be issued to test the statewide warning and communications systems. Businesses, schools and local and state agencies are encouraged to use this warning as a time to review emergency procedures.
All counties in Minnesota normally participate in the first drill at 1:45 p.m. unless actual severe weather is expected. Washington County will activate outdoor warning siren systems. As a reminder, outdoor warning sirens are designed to be heard only by people outside of buildings. At 6:55 p.m. the National Weather Service offices will issue another simulated tornado warning to allow families to practice their preparedness in the home and community and for evening shift workers.
The outdoor warning sirens in Washington County are activated by geographic areas. Washington County has three activation scenarios, all-county, north area and south area. Activation depends on the location of a severe weather incident.
During the 1:45 p.m. test period, Washington County will test the outdoor warning sirens using the backup siren activation system. Some of the sirens will be sounded twice. This will give the local authorities who own and maintain the sirens the ability to determine if their sirens are operating correctly.
During the 6:55 p.m. test period, all outdoor warning sirens countywide will be sounded from the primary activation system and will be allowed to run until they stop automatically.
Since 2000, disasters have claimed the lives of 21 Minnesotans and caused more than $373 million in federally declared damages.