While in the midst of this Pandemic, Minnesotans must take a moment to remember that other hazards will not take a break as we move into severe weather season.
The week of April 13-17 is designated Minnesota Severe Weather Awareness Week.
There are five topics for Severe Weather Awareness Week, including Alerts and Warnings; Storms, Hail and Lightning; Flooding and Flash Floods; Tornado Drill Day; Extreme Heat and SKYWARN.
Today is Tornado Drill Day, and Beltrami County will participate in two drills at 1:45 p.m. and at 6:45 p.m.
Outdoor warning sirens will sound at those times.
Businesses are encouraged to share information with occupants where safe sheltering options are.
Emergency Management, in respect to social distancing guidelines, is discouraging congregating in sheltering locations for the drill.
Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, there will be no Skywarn (Severe Weather Spotter) training offered in Beltrami County in 2020. The National Weather Service in Duluth is offering online courses, visit www.weather.gov/dlh and click on “local programs” and go to “Skywarn”, the Grand Forks Office also has online training at www.weather.gov/fgf and click on “local programs” and go to “Skywarn”.
Other items to consider during Severe Weather Awareness Week:
Alerts and Warnings: Have a source of NOAA Weather Radio and messaging for any severe weather alerts or warnings that may be activated. There are several apps available to provide weather information from commercial media outlets, Wireless Emergency Alerts and other sources. Know the difference between a watch and warning. Watches mean it is possible and warnings means it is happening or likely to happen.
Storms, Hail and Lightning: Thunderstorms can produce damaging winds comparable to significant tornadoes, exceeding 125mph in the most intense straight-line winds and can cause incredible destruction. Hail causes around a billion dollars in damage a year and are the result of strong thunderstorm updrafts. Lightning kills nearly 50 Americans annually in injuries many more. Remember: “When thunder roars, go indoors!” and for our neighbors who are deaf and hard of hearing, “See a flash, dash inside!”
Extreme Heat: Despite winter 2019-2020 wanting to linger well into spring, we know it will eventually warm up, and likely to dangerous levels at some point this summer. Heat ailments can be dangerous when the body loses the ability to cool itself. Never leave children or pets in vehicles! Even on warm sunny days, vehicles can reach lethal temperatures. Cars act like greenhouses and heat very rapidly.
Flooding and Flash Floods: Storms can produce very heavy rainfall resulting in flooding. The most dangerous flooding is flash flooding. Torrential rainfall can rapidly runoff, washing out roadways, floating vehicles and inundating dwellings. If you encounter a flooded roadway: “Turn around, don’t drown!” Most flood related deaths occur in vehicles.