Thursday is the Minnesota Statewide Tornado Drill.  Tornadoes are nature’s most intensely violent storm, and Minnesota averages 40 tornadoes per year, although, in 2010, Minnesota led the nation with 113 tornadoes. 

A tornado watch means conditions are favorable for tornadoes, 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.

During a watch, you should be alert to the changing weather conditions, know your surroundings and location, and have a plan in place if a tornado warning is issued.  It is also suggested that you have an NOAA weather radio operation and listen to the radio or TV for up to date information. 

During a tornado warning, Crookston Firefighter Bob Magsam says find shelter immediately and don’t try to outrun a storm in a vehicle. “Find yourself a strong shelter immediately,” said Magsam.  “Preferably indoors, but if that’s not an option, we have to do the best we can as far as finding that shelter location.  Seek a small interior room inside the home or workplace.  As always, stay away from all glass windows.  If you do live in a trailer home or mobile home, leave that home or trailer as they do not sustain the winds very well.  If you’re outside, lay down flat in a ditch or low-lying and make sure to cover your head from any potential flying debris.  If you’re in a vehicle, stop your vehicle.  Do not try to outrun a storm in the event of a real tornado scenario and find shelter as soon as possible.”

The statewide tornado drill will have a one-hour simulated storm from the simulated watch to the all-clear explains Magsam. “The National Weather Service, in conjunction with Homeland Security & Emergency Management, will conduct their annual drill,” said Magsam.  “At 1:00 p.m., they will issue a simulated tornado watch.  At 1:45 p.m., they will update that watch to a simulated tornado warning, and then at 2:00 p.m., the test will be complete, and that drill will be complete.  So, at approximately 1:45 p.m., after the simulated tornado warning is issued, the city, along with the county, will set their sirens off to simulate our drill.  As always, there will be a second drill in the evening at 6:45 p.m.”


1:00 p.m. – simulated tornado watch issued
1:45 p.m. – simulated tornado warning; city and county agencies will activate their sirens
2:00 p.m. – all-clear

6:00 p.m. – simulated tornado watch issued
6:45 p.m. – simulated tornado warning; city and county agencies will activate their sirens
7:00 p.m. – all-clear