Reporting Matt Brickman
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – June and July are the biggest months for tornadoes in Minnesota, but the rest of the country is already off to a deadly start — including the largest tornado on record.
The tornado that hit El Reno, Okla., measured 2.6 miles wide.
Here’s how to stay safe during Minnesota’s tornado season, because as recently as 2012, the land of 10,000 lakes led the nation in most tornadoes.
If sirens are your first warning of a tornado, emergency managers say you’re not paying close enough attention.
“In today’s day and age, there’s days of indications, there’s hours of alerts and many minutes of warnings, so you should not be surprised by a tornado warning,” said Hennepin County Director of Emergency Management Eric Waage.
In the summer, many Minnesotans are away at the cabin and our sense of geography might not be as strong as it is back home.
“So dig out a map, find out where you’re going — what county is it in? What towns are nearby?” Waage said. “So that when they’re mentioned you can place yourself in that map.”
Another step is to choose a good shelter.
“You always want to look for a place in the interior of a building, in the lowest level possible,” he said.
Even if you don’t have a basement, this still applies. A small interior room, like a bathroom, is your best bet. And stay away from windows during a tornado.
“They pick up debris — that’s your biggest threat — that’s why you want to get down low, and keep as low as possible,” he said.
And take warnings seriously.
“There’s no spot that can’t be hit by a tornado in the state of Minnesota that I know about, so people need to be ready,” Waage said.
Also, most sirens sound when straight line winds approach 70 miles per hour, but that can vary.