Homeland Security and Emergency Management (a division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety) has designated April 17-21 Severe Weather Awareness Week in Minnesota.

Each day a different topic will be addressed courtesy of those agencies and the National Weather Service.

Locally, the Rice County and City of Faribault Emergency Management Directors were guests on a special severe weather awareness show on KDHL that is being replayed this evening at 7:05PM.

The program touches on each of the topics that will be addressed this week and our panel of experts did an excellent job of educating us about what to do in the event of a severe weather emergency.

Tornadoes get a lot of attention, but there are other dangerous happenings mother nature throws our way.

Monday we discuss weather alerts and warnings.

Faribault City Emergency Management Director Dusty Dienst emphasized on our severe weather awareness show there are simply not enough citizens signed up for the Everbridge Notification System.

It's free and you can receive emergency notifications on your cell phone, land line phone, and/or email. The easiest way is to stop by the Fire Department and they will assist you in getting signed up.

If you are more inclined to do things yourself, you can go to the City of Faribault website, click departments, click police and emergency information and sign up there.

Jennifer Hauer-Schmitz, Rice County Emergency Management Director, reminded us the sirens are outdoor notification sirens, NOT tornado sirens. They can be set off in any kind of emergency.

If there were an anhydrous ammonia spill, authorities might set the sirens off to alert the public about an emergency.

When you hear the sirens you should tune to KDHL Radio 920 AM and the Emergency Management officials will have told us why the sirens were set off and we will relay the message to you.

There is no all-clear siren in severe weather. So if you hear another siren say a half-hour after the first one, tune to the radio again and get the information officials want you to hear.

I still get questions every year about the difference between a watch and a warning so here it goes. This is related to any watch or warning, severe thunderstorm, flash flood, extreme heat, tornado.

A watch means conditions are favorable for a severe weather event to occur and a warning means it is imminent. Either an eyewitness account or radar detected information that prompted authorities to decide to issue a warning.

Tuesday I will post information about storms, hail and lightning.

Wednesday we give information about flooding.

Thursday is tornado drill day, with two tornado drills that Rice County and the City of Faribault are participating in, but not all counties are so if you live elsewhere you might want to find out from your city or county officials.

Friday the topic is extreme heat.

Again each of these were discussed during our special show so tune in at 7:05PM and be informed of what to do when a weather emergency strikes.

Tornado Watch Graphics Provided by Faribault Emergency Management Director Dusty Dienst
Tornado Watch Graphics Provided by Faribault Emergency Management Director Dusty Dienst
Tornado Warning Definition Graphic Provided by Dusty Dienst
Tornado Warning Definition Graphic Provided by Dusty Dienst

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