Cass County participating in Severe Weather Awareness Week

April 17-21 is Severe Weather Awareness Week

Photo illustration / /

CASS COUNTY — Severe Weather Awareness Week, April 17-21, is dedicated to helping residents learn and prepare for upcoming weather hazards and to help provide resources to minimize the risks associated with severe weather.

An informed, involved community is more resilient to disaster. Being prepared also helps reduce the risks and costs of hazardous weather events. As past summers have proved, these events do happen and can cause extensive damage.

The National Weather Service will highlight top weather threats in Minnesota and how to be prepared for them as follows:

  • Monday, April 17: This day will cover alerts and warnings and what they mean.
  • Tuesday, April 18: This day will look at severe weather, including lightning and hail.
  • Wednesday, April 19: This day will bring information about flooding.
  • Thursday, April 20: The topic is tornadoes in conjunction with the statewide tornado drills.
  • Friday, April 21: This day will bring information about extreme heat. It is going to happen someday.

On Thursday, April 20, Cass County will participate in two tornado drills. The first drill will be statewide at 1:45 p.m. to allow schools, businesses and health care facilities to practice their emergency plans. All are encouraged to participate.

The second drill will be at 6:45 p.m. to allow everyone, as individual families and businesses that have late shift workers, to practice plans.


During the week of April 17-21, the National Weather Service will test the emergency alert systems and the NOAA all-hazard weather radios. These radios are a very inexpensive way to be able to be alerted of all hazards.

The Cass County Sheriff's Office encourages everyone to consider purchasing one for their home and business.

The NIXLE System in Cass County will also be tested. Those who are not signed up are encouraged to do so. It is free and keeps people in touch with any public safety messages relayed by the sheriff’s office.

Interested parties can go to and click on the Nixle Alerts box to sign up or they can text their Cass County ZIP code to 888777 to opt in.

The weather sirens are set off when the National Weather Service issues a tornado warning, when the National Weather Service issues wind warnings with wind speeds at or above 70 mph, or a trained spotter reports a tornado. These weather triggers follow the Association of Minnesota Emergency Managers outdoor warning siren best practices.

The Cass County dispatch center uses The Weather Warn System. It automatically activates the appropriate sirens without dispatch input and will cycle the sirens automatically while the tornado warning or extreme wind warning is active.

When a warning comes from the weather service, a polygon is drawn and any siren located inside this polygon is automatically set off. The sirens will continue to cycle every 20 minutes while the tornado warning or extreme wind warning is active.

An informed community makes for a more resilient community and the Skywarn Storm Spotter program helps build a cooperative relationship between the National Weather Service and the community to assist in the receipt and effective distribution of weather information.


The following virtual Skywarn classes will be held. To register for a virtual class, click on the link next to the relevant date.

Here are a couple of weather-related websites with a lot of great information and resources: or .

For more information, contact Deputy Chad Emery, Cass County Emergency Management Division, at 218-547-7437.

Our newsroom occasionally reports stories under a byline of "Pineandlakes Echo Journal." Often, the "Pineandlakes Echo Journal" byline is used when rewriting basic news briefs that originate from official sources, such as a city press release about a road closure, and which require little or no reporting. At times, this byline is used when a news story includes numerous authors or when the story is formed by aggregating previously reported news from various sources. If outside sources are used, it is noted within the story.

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