Editorial: Inevitable storms require precautions

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Every spring and summer, Minnesota experiences between 30 and 70 tornadoes. Unfortunately, every year people are injured because they didn’t prepare or practice safety measures.

It’s Severe Weather Awareness Week, a time during which state and local officials remind residents about inevitable storms, lightning, wind, floods and tornadoes, and provide safety tips on protection and survival. Spring weather can bring disaster as well as relief. People need to be aware of the hazards and the importance of being prepared.

And speaking of preparedness, a statewide tornado drill is planned for Thursday. The National Weather Service will simulate a tornado watch beginning at 9 a.m. Two tornado drills are planned. The first will take place statewide at 1:45 p.m.; all jurisdictions will activate their warning systems. This first drill allows schools, businesses, and hospitals to practice their sheltering plans. The second drill, at 6:55 p.m., is voluntary and will allow families and second-shift workers an opportunity to practice their sheltering plans.

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We urge people to take advantage of these drills and be prepared in the event of a tornado. We especially urge people with children to take part in the drills so the children know what to do and remain calm, should a real tornado occur.

When dealing with severe weather, being informed and aware of your surroundings is the biggest key in being safe. Tools to alert people to dangerous weather include severe weather watches and warnings. A watch means all the ingredients needed for severe weather or tornadoes are there.

It doesn’t mean it will happen. A warning means that there is severe weather or there is a tornado.

There’s no way to prevent severe weather, but we can all be prepared for it. Please take part in the planned drills. Make a plan.