By Edgar Linares

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In Minnesota, May and June are typically the worst months when it comes to severe weather and more than half of federally declared disasters are due to severe weather.

That’s why Minnesota has declared this Severe Weather Awareness Week and on Thursday tornado sirens will sound off statewide.

“We think there’s a gap in severe weather awareness related training,” said Eric Waage, director of Emergency Management for Hennepin County. “We want to step in there and fill that gap.”

Waage said looking at severe weather data and insurance data in Minnesota, you can see severe weather episodes are raising and more insurance claims are being filed over the last two decades.

“We think the atmosphere is becoming more violent, more intense,” Waage said.

Schools are responsible for safety training for students. However, state law only requires one severe weather drill for schools each year. Waage would like to see schools practice more drills.

Hopkins Public Schools run at least two drills a year and are now considered StormReady. To be StormReady, an organization must:

– Establish a warning point and emergency operation center.

– Have more than one way to receive severe weather warnings and disseminate alerts.

– Create a system that monitors local weather conditions.

– Promote the importance of public readiness through seminars.

– Develop a formal hazardous weather plan, which includes training severe weather spotters and holding emergency exercises.

On Thursday the sirens will sound off at 1:45 p.m. and 6:55 p.m.

“It gives your co-workers, your employers and your families a chance to hear what sirens sound like and think about what you would do,” Waage said. “Where would you go in your home or workplace to remain safe during storm situation?”


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