Posted at 5:33 PM on April 18, 2012
by Paul Huttner
.20" to .40" rainfall possible in southern Minnesota Thursday
Twin Cities on the edge of rain to the south
40s & 50s - chilly day with showers south Thursday
Cool sunshine in central & northern Minnesota Thursday
Tornado drills Thursday as part of Severe Weather Awareness Week
**Sirens will sound in most Minnesota counties at 1:45pm & 6:55pm Thursday**
A cool spring rain:
A fast moving jet stream continues to deal weather systems at Minnesota.
Our next weather system slides through Thursday with a cool rain for southern Minnesota. Models hint at between ..20" to .40" of rainfall in southern Minnesota Thursday, with the Twin Cities on the northern edge of this system.
Tornado Drills Thursday: Sirens will sound in most counties
You'll probably hear the sirens blow at 1:45pm and 6:55pm Thursday. That's a signal that you should fire up the NOAA weather radio and your own severe weather action plan for the season.
Here's the "drill" from the Twin Cities NWS Thursday:
Tornado Watch/Warning Drills
The National Weather Service, Wisconsin Emergency Management, the Minnesota Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, and other state, county and local agencies have come together to host Severe Weather Awareness Week activities. On Thursday, April 19th, simulated tornado watches and warnings will be issued to test the statewide warning and communications systems. The schedule for April 19th is as follows:
(all times CDT)
1:00 PM: The National Weather Service will issue a simulated tornado watch for Minnesota and Wisconsin.
1:45 PM: The National Weather Service will issue a simulated tornado warning for 9 counties of western Wisconsin (Barron, Chippewa, Dunn, Eau Claire, Pepin, Pierce, Polk, Rusk and St Croix). Note that most cities and counties will activate outdoor warning siren systems.
1:45 PM: The National Weather Service will issue a simulated tornado warning for Minnesota counties. Note that most cities and counties will activate outdoor warning siren systems.
2:00 PM: The National Weather Service will issue an "End of Test" message using the Severe Weather Statement product. It should be stated that outdoor warning sirens will not be sounded again for this all clear, nor will there be any warning tone on NOAA Weather Radio.
6:55 PM: Another simulated tornado warning will be issued for 81 participating counties in Minnesota. Those counties not participating are: Aitkin, Becker, Houston, Kittson, Norman, and Wilkin.
A graphic of the counties participating in the evening drill is available at https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/hsem/weather-awareness-preparedness/Documents/Drill participation map 2012.pdf
The 6:55 PM warning will be issued by the six National Weather Service offices that serve Minnesota. It will be issued as a test of family preparedness in the home and for second shift workers.
For the Minnesota and Wisconsin warnings, a TOR code (tornado warning) will be used to activate the broadcast on NOAA Weather Radios.
Why 1:45 on a Thursday? I think many people are familiar with 1:00 on a Wednesday and this is going to scare a lot of people. Not everyone can drop what they are doing and scramble to find out what is going on, and folks outside who can't go in right away will get pretty freaked if they don't know it is a drill, especially if they had no reason to think they should keep an eye on the weather. I know I did a couple of stupid things last year when I was caught in my car very near the Minneapolis tornado and was trying to find information on the radio while driving through heavy traffic on the highway. Talk about distracted driving!