Early tornado reminder to plan for severe weather

Monday’s confirmed tornado in Le Sueur County is a reminder, for all Minnesotans, to always be ready for severe weather. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) encourages everyone to review their severe weather plans and take steps to keep themselves and their family safe.

“This warmth, and the unsettled atmosphere that goes with it, can catch us unprepared,” says HSEM Director Kris Eide. “We must make the switch quickly from winter-readiness to an entirely different set of survival skills.”

One of the most important aspects of severe weather survival is awareness, Eide says. “Watch the weather, check the Web, listen to the media, and know the difference between a weather watch and a weather warning. Your life may depend on it.”

When spring/summer weather threatens:

  • Be aware that a “watch” means the potential exists for the development of severe weather, while “warning” means that the threat is imminent or currently taking place, and you should take shelter immediately.
  •  Use a NOAA Weather Radio. Available for less than $50, it provides adequate warning when threatening weather approaches.
  • Online, NOAA.gov provides maps and predictions that make it possible to plan for severe weather outbreaks.
  • Many local media, both television and radio, interrupt programming to provide weather information, making it possible to react quickly  — whether that means closing windows and pulling a vehicle into the garage, or making sure underground shelter is available and stocked with essentials.

“Don’t take chances,” Eide said. “Weather information is available, and it’s important to understand and act on it. When we’re ready for anything, we can enjoy this gift of spring and summer weather with confidence.”