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Never mind the snow, it is tornado drill day, severe weather awareness week

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WILLMAR — The Thursday of Severe Weather Awareness week, which is this week, includes tornado drills intended to help the public refresh themselves with what to do in the event of severe summertime weather.

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According to a public information statement by the National Weather Service, the agency will issue a test tornado watch at 1 p.m. followed by a test tornado warning at 1:45 p.m. and a test severe weather statement at the end of the warning at 2 p.m.

Similarly, there will be a test tornado warning at 6:55 p.m. tonight, followed by a test severe weather statement at the end of the warning at 7:10 p.m.

Officials remind citizens that they can continue their normal activities while a tornado watch is in effect, but that they should keep informed about latest weather information and be ready to get to shelter in case tornadoes develop quickly.

At home, citizens should go to the basement if possible or get under a table, work bench or sturdy furniture. A stairwell is also a good place to hide during a tornado.

If you can’t get to a basement, go to a small interior room on the lowest level, such as a closet, bathroom or interior hallway. In an apartment building, school or office building, go to the innermost room of the lowest level or a pre-designated shelter area.

Always stay away from windows and crouch down to protect your head from flying debris.

If in a motor vehicle or a mobile home, seek a sturdy shelter or permanent structure as quickly as possible. Attempting to drive away or hide under a bridge is not advised because vehicles get caught in deadly winds and bridges act as wind tunnels.

Last year, there were 37 tornadoes in Minnesota with no deaths. All of the tornadoes were rated as EF-0 or EF-1.

Wisconsin had four tornadoes last year, the second lowest number since 1950. The strongest 2012 tornado was an EF-2 on Sept. 4 in Grant County.

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Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

(320) 214-4373
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