Sever Weather Season has arrived here in Olmsted County, Minnesota, and soon the warning sirens will be going off and reminding some of us of spring and confusing the daylights out of others. Here's what you need to know.

In an Olmsted County Sheriff's Department Facebook post, we were reminded they'll  "begin testing in full activation mode this Wednesday (4/7/2021) and continue with full activation mode testing every Wednesday at 10 a.m. through September 2021."

Curious what to listen for? Hit play...

You won't just hear it in Olmsted County, you'll hear it all over Minnesota every Wednesday. Well, almost all over. Rochester and Pine Island only test the sirens on the first and 3rd Wednesday of the month. 

Don't be alarmed (pun intended), it's just testing our system to make sure we're ready in case of emergency...and yes, they do get used regularly for severe weather.

"Siren tests will be canceled if there is a threat of severe weather in the area. If we cancel the siren test at any time throughout the spring, summer or fall, we will post about the cancellation on social media." (Olmsted Courtney Sheriff's Office)

There are three different kinds of weather alerts: Watch, Advisory, and Warning. When there's a watch, it means the conditions are right for severe weather. An advisory means, "yeah, there's severe weather happening, but it's not dangerous enough to warrant a "warning."

A warning is the real deal, look out, be extra careful, it's happening now or about to happen. A severe thunderstorm warning, a tornado warning. DO NOT stand on your porch looking for the danger, take steps immediately to be safe. 

tornado near Bigelow, MN - photo from Jill Heidebrink
tornado near Bigelow, MN - photo from Jill Heidebrink

How can you know what's happening and what to do?

A great way is to listen to our station, In the event of severe weather, the Emergency Alert System will take over automatically to give you the latest information. You will hear this if you're listening on our app (click here to download our app). You'll get instructions on what to do, please follow them,

If you're outside, the sirens will sound in the event of a tornado. Please don't go looking for the tornado, turn on the radio, get info you need, and stay safe. I get that you love weather, but please...if you want to be involved, check this out...

You hear meteorologists talk about "storm spotters" and it sounds kinda cool, right? You get to be a part of the weather reporting system. There are still three Storm Spotter virtual info classes left in April. Read More: Love Weather? Here's How To Be A Storm Spotter for SE Minnesota

Sign up for Rochester Alerts (you do that HERE on their webpage).

There is no perfect system. Every year people complain they couldn't hear the sirens in their homes. It's true, many do (they're ear-splittingly loud), but the sirens are designed to alert people outside. Not inside. Please don't call the city or county to complain.

Complaints also include, There was a warning and nothing happened, there was only a watch and it should have been a warning, and they didn't mention flooding! are just a few examples of the complaints. And yeah, like I said, no system is perfect, Fine to call after and ask what's up, just please be respectful.

As always, if you have a comment, complaint, or concern about something I wrote here, please let me know:

Listen to James Rabe and Jessica Williams Weekday from 6 - 10 AM on Y-105 FM

On September 20, 2018, there was a doozy of a storm in SE Minnesota. Here are some photos from that day.

The Storm - 09-20-18

Listen to James Rabe Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 11-Noon on KROC AM 1340 and 96.9 FM and Weekdays with Jessica Williams Weekday from 6 - 10 AM on Y-105 FM

If you're not into modern gadgets for weather information, you can always take your chances with your furry friends...

KEEP READING: 10 Animals in Minnesota That Can Predict the Weather

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