During Severe Weather Awareness Week in Minnesota different topics are selected each day for us to become more educated about and today's topic is tornadoes.  Our Severe Weather Awareness Week show Monday featured local weather experts who train in this area all the time.  Today most counties in the state will be participating in two tornado drills.

The notification sirens will be sounded at 1:45 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. today in Rice and Steele Counties.  You might want to contact your county emergency management office to find out if your county is participating in both drills because the second one is optional.  The first is for schools and businesses to practice their plans in the event of a real tornado emergency and the evening drill is when we are supposed to practice our home plans.

Some manufacturing plants and others working overnight are also asked to practice their plans for such an emergency.

Faribault Emergency Management Director Dusty Dienst told us Monday tornadoes probably get the most attention because they are nature's most intensely violent storm.

According to information from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety our state averages 40 tornadoes per year.  In 2010 we set a record when Minnesota led the nation with 113 tornadoes.

Tornadoes can strike quickly with little or no warning and can occur any time of day or night.  They most often occur in late afternoon or evening.

Remember a Tornado Watch means weather conditions are favorable for tornadoes to develop, you should remain alert for approaching storms.

A Tornado Warning means a tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar and you should take shelter immediately.

Be alert to changing weather conditions and listen to KDHL or POWER 96 Radio for severe weather information.  Know what county you are in.

In the event of a Tornado Warning seek shelter immediately.  If you don't have a basement then go to an interior room where there are no windows.  Evacuate mobile homes immediately.

In Faribault each of the mobile home parks have a designated shelter to go to.  One of the schools in town.

If you are in your vehicle stop and find shelter in a strong building nearby immediately and watch out for flying debris.

Do not go under an overpass or bridge.

Severe Weather Awareness Week. Thursday Tornado Drill Day. Information from Minnesota Department of Public Safety and KDHL