Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tornado Drill Day

*Today is day 4 of Severe Weather Awareness Week and today's topic is "Tornado Safety Information"

Tornado Watch/Warning Drills

The National Weather Service, Wisconsin Emergency Management, the Minnesota Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, and other state, county and local agencies have come together to host Severe Weather Awareness Week activities. On Thursday, April 22nd, simulated tornado watches and warnings will be issued to test the statewide warning and communications systems. The schedule for April 22nd is as follows:

(all times CDT)

1:00 PM: The National Weather Service will issue a simulated tornado watch for Minnesota and Wisconsin.

1:40 PM: The National Weather Service will issue a simulated tornado warning for 9 counties of western Wisconsin (Barron, Chippewa, Dunn, Eau Claire, Pepin, Pierce, Polk, Rusk and St Croix). Note that most cities and counties will activate outdoor warning siren systems.

1:45 PM: The National Weather Service will issue a simulated tornado warning for Minnesota counties (except those in the northwestern part of the state). Note that most cities and counties will activate outdoor warning siren systems.

2:00 PM: The National Weather Service will issue an "End of Test" message using the Severe Weather Statement product. It should be stated that outdoor warning sirens will not be sounded again for this all clear, nor will there be any warning tone on NOAA Weather Radio.

6:55 PM: Another simulated tornado warning will be issued for 73 participating counties in Minnesota. Those counties not participating are: Aitkin, Carlton, Hubbard, Itasca, Kanabec, Kittson, Lincoln, Otter Tail, Pennington, Pipestone, Sibley, St. Louis, Watonwan and Wilkin.

Tornado Safety Information

Before the Tornado...
Tornado watches highlight the area where tornadoes are most likely to develop. Continue with your normal activites, but keep informed of the latest weather information and be ready to get to shelter in case tornadoes develop quickly.

In the Home...
Go to the basement if possible. Get under a table, work bench, or some other sturdy furniture to avoid falling debris. A stairwell is also a good place to hide during a tornado.

If You Cannot Get to a Basement...
Go to a small interior room on the lowest floor. Closets, bathrooms, and interior halls afford the best protection in most cases, or try to hide under a bed. Get under something sturdy or cover yourself with blankets. Stay away from windows.

In an Apartment, School or Office Building...
Move to the inner-most room on the lowest level or to a pre-designated shelter area. Stay away from windows. If in a hallway, crouch down and protect your head from flying debris. Avoid areas with glass and large roof expansions.

In a Mobile Home, Car, Truck or Other Vehicle...
Abandon these as quickly as possible. Seek a sturdy shelter or permanent structure. Remember that many deaths occur when people try to drive away in a vehicle, but get caught in the deadly winds. Avoid bridges since they act as wind tunnels.

Last year, Minnesota saw 24 tornadoes, fewer than the average since the early 90s. The strongest were two tornadoes rated EF-2, one that hit Austin on June 17, and another that hit Swift Falls on July 14. There were no deaths or injuries across the state.

Wisconsin had 16 tornadoes last year, and all were weak. Only five reached the EF-1 category, and the others were all EF-0. There were no deaths or injuries in Wisconsin last year due to tornadoes. St. Croix County had the most tornadoes in the state in 2009, with five.

*Iceland Volcano continues to produce. Imagine shaking a bottle of pop and then taking the lid off... this is what is happening here, just a much larger scale. At one point on Saturday, Eyjafjallajokull (good luck trying to pronounce that one) was spewing 750,000 tons of ash per second. See more images like the one below from Marco Fulle here

Take a look at this HD time lapse video of the eruption here:

I thought this was neat. A different look at the ash cloud seen in 3D:

*Oil rig fire in the Gulf of Mexico seen from a NASA satellite nearly 23,000 miles high - this image posted on Twitter by weatherzine: see the animation here

*Rain/Thunder Chance Returns This Weekend

Here's the weather map for Saturday

This will be a slow moving storm that will impact the region Friday night through Sunday. The heaviest rain and even some thunder will roll through late Friday Night and earlier Saturday. Rain should taper Saturday afternoon with only a few left over showers by Sunday morning. Latest computer models print out around 0.80" of rain through Saturday. Regardless of how much rain falls in your backyard rain gauge this weekend, this will be are only real good shot of a free lawn watering until the end of the month, so bring it on!

Todd's Conservation MN Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota

Thursday: Partly cloudy, still mild. High: 68

Thursday Night: Partly cloudy, nothing scary. Low: 46

Friday: Fading sun, showers/T-storms may arrive by Friday night. High: 69

Saturday: Showery rains, thunder possible - damp breeze (few hours of rain). High: 62

Sunday: Showers taper, some PM sun possible. High: near 63

Monday: Lingering clouds, slight chance of showers far southern/western MN. High: 60

Tuesday: More sun, drier statewide. High: 63

Wednesday: Mostly sunny and warmer. High: Mid 60's

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