Each year, local and state emergency management and homeland security offices in collaboration with the National Weather Service and 16 state and local agencies and organizations sponsor Severe Weather Awareness Week in Minnesota. That is happening this week, April 13-17.

The week is designed to refresh, remind and educate everyone about the seasonal threats from severe weather and how to prepare to deal with them. It is also a great time to make and practice emergency plans and build or refresh emergency preparedness kits.

Each day of the week focuses on a different weather safety topic:

  • Monday: Alerts and warnings.

  • Tuesday: Severe weather, lighting and hail.

  • Wednesday: Floods.

  • Thursday: Tornadoes (with statewide tornado drills).

  • Friday: Extreme heat.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Crow Wing County is limiting participation in this year’s SWAW events to a news release and social media post so the county can continue to focus on the COVID-19 hazard.

Therefore, outdoor warning sirens will not sound Thursday, April 16, nor will a test of the weather radio’s or EAS be sent out from the National Weather Service. This will reduce emergency messaging and potential mixed communications that are being conveyed to the public.

Families and employers are still encouraged to be aware of severe weather hazards during this summer season and to ensure plans are in place for sheltering and having an emergency kit.

For more information, visit the state of Minnesota’s main weather safety page at https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/hsem/weather-awareness-preparedness/Pages/default.aspx or the SWAW Page: https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/hsem/weather-awareness-preparedness/Pages/severe-weather-awareness-week-program.aspx.

Skywarn spotter training

The National Weather Service will host six Skywarn spotter training classes online this spring, with both daytime and evening times offered for flexibility. These classes replace the in-person classes that had to be canceled because of travel restrictions.

Classes are free, last approximately two hours, and include information about severe weather safety, thunderstorm identification, and how spotters can help the NWS in severe weather. Content is appropriate for all ages (great for kids).

Dates/times for the classes are as follows:

  • Thursday, April 16: 2 and 6:30 p.m.

  • Tuesday, April 21: 6:30 p.m.

  • Wednesday, April 22: Noon.

  • Thursday, April 23: 6:30 p.m.

Registration for the online classes can be found at https://www.weather.gov/dlh/skywarn.

Direct link to registration form: https://register.gotowebinar.com/rt/6826853809301083918.

Additional classes may be added later and posted on the website. Classes will be identical in content. Anyone interested need only take one of the classes offered.