Severe Weather Awareness

Severe weather can strike at anytime. Being aware of the weather around you is important. Minnesotans should listen to a NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for the latest storm warnings, watches and advisories. The National Weather Service issues outlooks, watches, warnings and advisories for all weather hazards.


Thunderstorms are severe storms that can produce hail, heavy rain, frequent lightening, wind speeds greater than 57 miles per hour or straight-line winds that can exceed 100 miles per hour. Some thunderstorms also produce tornados. In Minnesota, thunderstorms typically occur in the spring, summer and fall lasting an average of 30 minutes. 


Tornados are violent, dangerous windstorms that typically form a funnel-shape but can take on many shapes and sizes. They're usually spawned by thunderstorms. Tornados usually occur between March and August in Minnesota, although they can occur at any time of the year. 

Be Prepared for Severe Weather

  1. Make a Family Emergency Plan- know where you can find shelter. 
    • If you are indoors, go to a room without windows on the lowest level (i.e. basement, interior room or hallway) and get under a sturdy table or stairway. 
    • If you are outdoors or in a car, get inside a building, if possible. If building shelter is not available, lie flat in a ditch or low-lying area. Do not go under an overpass or bridge.
    • Establish a meeting place for your family if you are not able to go home. Identify an emergency contact that lives outside of your home and know their phone number.
  2. Assemble an Emergency Supply Kit - include items like non-perishable food, water, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, first aid supplies, extra flashlights and batteries. Store it in your shelter location.
  3. Find out about emergency plans at your family's employers, daycare and school(s) - find out what room they will be taken to if a thunderstorm or tornado is imminent and where they will be taken if there are injuries once the storm has ended.
  4. Learn basic first aid and CPR. 
  5. Plan for Pets - know how you would deal with your pets in an emergency.

Additional Resources