siren

Each year, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, in partnership with the National Weather Service  and other state and local government agencies, sponsors Severe Weather Awareness Week. Each day  of the week focuses on a different topic.

The highlight are two statewide tornado drills on April 15. 

During the afternoon and evening drills, local sirens and all NOAA  Weather Radios in Minnesota and Wisconsin will sound with a simulated tornado warning. These drills give everyone the opportunity to review their emergency plans and procedures and practice emergency drills at work or at home. 

Counties and cities in Minnesota own, operate and maintain all local warning sirens, and set their own policies on how and when they are activated. There is no such thing as an all-clear siren. 

The Drills

The first drill occurs on Thursday, April 15 at 1:45 p.m., when jurisdictions across Minnesota sound  their outdoor warning sirens. Schools, businesses and other facilities are encouraged to conduct a  tornado drill at this time to practice their emergency tornado sheltering plans. 

NOAA Weather Radios will activate with the weekly test code. 

A second drill occurs on Thursday, April 15 at 6:45 p.m., when jurisdictions across Minnesota sound  their outdoor warning sirens. This second drill allows second-shift workers, individuals and families the  opportunity to practice their own emergency plans at home. 

NOAA Weather Radios will activate with the weekly test code. 

Schedule of Events 

Simulated tornado watches and warnings will be issued to test the statewide warning and  communications systems. The schedule is as follows:  

  • 1 p.m.: All National Weather Service (NWS) offices that serve Minnesota will issue a simulated  tornado using the Public Information Statement product. NOAA Weather Radios will activate with the  weekly test code. 
  • 1:45 p.m.: The NWS will issue a simulated tornado warning for Minnesota using the Public  Information Statement product. Most cities and counties will activate outdoor warning sirens. 
  • 2 p.m.: The NWS will issue an "End of Test" message using the Public Information Statement  product.  
  • 6:45 p.m.: NWS offices will issue another simulated tornado warning.  
  • 7 p.m.: The NWS will issue an "End of Test" message using the Public Information Statement  product.   

Wireless emergency alerts on cell phones should not sound for these drills. 

In general, software at TV stations also receives the test code indicating a test, and may not send a  message. For specific details, please check with your local broadcast station or cable service provider. 

If real severe weather is a significant threat on or before the drill day, any of the National Weather Service  offices that serve Minnesota may postpone the simulated watch and warning to Friday.  

If the weather threat continues, the drills may be canceled. Any postponement or cancellation will be  announced.