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Severe Weather Awareness

Severe Weather Awareness Week (April 17–21, 2023)

This week is severe weather awareness week for South Dakota and Minnesota!

Stay tuned for daily topics through the week when you can learn more about weather safety.

Minnesota and South Dakota Severe Weather Awareness Week

Day 5 (April 21, 2023)

On the final day of severe weather awareness week in South Dakota and Minnesota, let’s talk about extreme heat (yes, it'll happen eventually this Summer)!

Do you take extra steps when the forecast calls for excessive heat?

How do you prepare?

Severe weather awareness week ends with a day focused on extreme heat.

What are some common things to do and avoid when the temperatures rise?

Take a closer look at the steps and small actions you can take to protect yourself during excessive heat.

Heat safety is no joke!  Do hydrate, protect yourself, plan for the heat, and monitor the forecast.  Don't eat big meals, use excessive caffeine, overdue outdoor activities, and forget pets or kids in vehicles.

Do you know the signs of heat related illness?

A critical part of heat safety is knowing the signs of heat related illness.

Heat related illness signs. For more information visit

We often talk about phrases to remember when it comes to weather safety.

“Look before you lock” is another phrase you must remember.

The inside temperatures of your vehicle can become deadly in minutes, even in low temperatures.

Look before you lock. Temperatures in vehicles rise quickly in the sun.  The fastest heating rate inside a car occurs in the first 10 minutes.

As we wrap up severe weather awareness week in South Dakota and Minnesota, let’s finish up today’s topic of “heat illness”.

Your pets are also impacted by rising temperatures.

Remember these tips going forward and keep them safe as well!

Pet safety in the heat is critical!  Watch the humidity, limit exercise, provide shade and water, don't rely on fans for cooling, and watch out for hot pavment.


Day 4 (April 20,2023)

Communities across South Dakota and Minnesota have been impacted by tornadoes.

Use today to make an action plan and use it when tornado warnings are issued!

On day 4 of severe weather awareness week, we'll focus on tornadoes.

Of all the many dangerous weather hazards, tornadoes are one of the most powerful and destructive.

Although the details of their formation are still being researched, we do know the general steps.

Watch this video for a quick science lesson.

What’s a tornado “watch”?

What’s a tornado “warning”?

What’s a tornado “emergency”?

It’s important to know the differences as we move into severe weather season.

Tornado terminology is important to know.  Watches mean there is potential for severe weather. Warnings mean severe weather is imminent, tornado emergencies are rare situations where catastrophic damage is expected.

Tornadoes can be extremely dangerous.

Safe places include storm shelters and basements — but if not available, an interior room without windows can also be protective.

If you receive a tornado warning, take shelter immediately!

If a tornado strikes when you're at home.  Pictures of a house graphic showing that you should use the lowest interior room for shelter.

Where do you stay safe if a tornado warning is issued, and you’re not at home?

Let’s take a closer look.

Here's a look at tornado safety outside of the home.  For more information visit

As we finish up day 4 of severe weather awareness week for Minnesota and South Dakota, let's talk about a few tornado misconceptions.

A part of preparing for severe weather season is knowing that tornadoes do not obey “rules” or follow “myths”.

Tornadoes don't obey political boundaries, rivers, valleys and local landmarks, large cities, severe weather outlook.  If warnings are issued, seek shelter.


Day 3 (April 19, 2023)

Flooding and flash flooding is something we’ve certainly experienced over the past years.

Are you prepared?

Day 3 of severe weather awareness week focuses on flooding.  Are you prepared?

How do we raise the awareness of flash flood and flooding potential?

You may hear us begin talking about “excessive rainfall” outlooks. Here’s a look at what this term means to you.

Excessive rainfall can happen frequently in the summer.  Rain may lead to localized flooding, ponding of water, and even flash flooding.

6, 12, 18.

No, they aren’t random numbers, they’re researched values that show just how little water it takes to sweep you or your vehicle away.

This severe weather season, do your part and do not drive into flooded roads!

6 inches of water can move a person, 12 inches of moving water can move a car, and 18 to 24 inches of water can move a SUV or van.

As we finish today’s discussion on flooding, let’s finish with one of the most dangerous types of flooding.

Flooding can be difficult to see during the day, it’s impossible to see at night. Remember this!

Flooding can be difficult to see in the day, it is even more difficult to see at night. Turn around don't drown.


Day 2 (April 18, 2023)

 Knowing what hazards thunderstorms can bring and how to prepare for those hazards is a key element of staying safe during severe weather season.

Day two of severe weather awareness week focuses on severe storm hazards.  How do I stay safe during severe weather?  What do I put into an emergency plan?  How do I stay aware?

Hail, high winds, tornadoes, flash flooding and lightning can all impact us when severe storms strike.

Here is a closer look at how to take action when these severe weather elements are possible!

Severe weather hazards include tornadoes, large hail, high winds, flooding, and lighting.

When you’re at the lake and severe weather threatens, know that a camper is the last place you want to be.

Be sure to have a way to receive warnings, and know where a safe shelter is located.

Campers are not safe shelters during strong winds.  They can be completely detroyed.  consider changing plans if your storm risk increases, and seek shelter if warnings are issued.

Should you seek shelter from severe storms under an overpass?

NO! They are not considered safe storm shelters, and you could put yourself and others in further danger.

Bridges and overpasses are not safe storm shelters. Seek alternative shelters and avoid increasing your risk and the risk of others around you.

So, do you have a severe weather safety kit?

If not, it’s important to gather these items ahead of time and put them in a place you can get to quickly should severe weather threaten you.

Everyone should have an emergency kit!  THere are several must have supplies including first aid kit, water, flashlights.

In 2022, 19 people died due to lightning. DON'T BECOME A STATISTIC

When thunder roars, go indoors! #mnwx#sdwx

in 2022, 19 people died due to lightning.  Don't become a statistic.  When thunder roars, go indoors.

It doesn't take a severe thunderstorm to be a dangerous thunderstorm.  All it takes is one lightning strike to become a hazardous situation for yourself or those around you.  

Remember, "when thunder roars, go indoors"!  

Throughout the day, we’ve talked about being weather aware and weather prepared.

As a summary of the day, here’s what these things mean to you!

Be weather aware.  Stay aware of the forecast, be vigilant and more aware of whats around you, and have a plan. Be weather prepared.  Know the terms, create a safety plan, and be an example to others.


Day 1 (April 17, 2023)

Ask yourself these questions today.

1. What’s the difference between a watch and warning?

2. How will you receive a warning?

Severe weather awareness week for minnesota and south dakota begins today.  Day 1 features weather alerts and warning information.

 Being prepared for severe weather season means understanding your risk.

Severe weather outlooks are meant to raise your awareness to the potential of severe storms. Here is a closer look at what each outlook level means.


Severe weather from marginal, to slight, enhanced, moderate, and high have many definitions.  A level 1 event (marginal) is on the lower end of the scale with isolated severe storms, while a level 5 event (high) is the highest end of the scale with widespread severe storms.

Do you know the differences between a severe weather watch and severe weather warning?

A watch means “be ready to take action”. A warning means “TAKE ACTION”. Here is a closer look at the differences.

There are three main differences between a watch and a warning.  Time duration, actions to take, and coverage.

There are many ways to receive weather watches and warnings.

You should not put all your eggs into one basket when it comes to being aware.

Have multiple methods of getting a warning, here are a few examples!

Have multiple ways of receiving severe weather alerts.  TV, media, cell phones, sirens, weather radio, and friends and family are all methods.

A great way to stay weather informed and prepared is by following your local office on Twitter.

As we continue severe weather awareness week, here are the offices that serve South Dakota.

A map of south dakota showing offices that serve the state on Twitter.   These include Sioux Falls, Aberdeen, and Rapid City.

What do you do when severe weather threatens after dark?

If storms are in the forecast, DO NOT go to bed unprepared. Have at least one source to receive warnings and alerts. Multiple sources are even better!

When storms strike after dark, have multiple ways to receive the warning.

Some may be relying on sirens as their only way to receive weather warnings.

HOWEVER, outdoor warning sirens are only meant to warn those OUTDOORS, not INDOORS.

This is why it's critical to always have MULTIPLE ways to receive a severe weather warning.

Outdoor warning sires are meant to be heard outdoors, not indoors.  Have multiple ways to stay aware of severe weather risks and warnings.

Wireless Emergency Alerts will alert your phone if you are located in a: Tornado warning Severe t-storm warning with 80+ mph winds or 2.75" hail Did you disable this feature on your phone?

Please consider re-enabling this feature.

What is WEA. Wireless emergency alerts are alerts that sound on your phone.


Andoid and ios settings for modifying alerts

This is a WEA alert display on your phone.