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Hennepin County Will Activate Outdoor Warning Sirens During Severe Weather Awareness Week

4/10/19 UPDATE:

The National Weather Service is cancelling the tornado drill watch/warnings for Minnesota for Thursday, April 11.  The NWS will not be issuing any test tornado watches/warnings for anywhere in Minnesota on Thursday, April 11.  The cancellation is due to the very strong snow storm set to arrive later Wednesday. Blizzard warnings are already in effect for part of the state.  It is also cancelled for Friday, April 12, as some areas of Minnesota will still be experiencing heavy snow and/or strong wind.  We will *not* be issuing any test tornado watches/warnings for Minnesota on Friday.  This decision has been made through many discussions with many of our public safety partners. We wish this decision didn't have to be made, but feel it is especially wise based on the expectations and timing of the incoming storm. (If local governments, businesses, schools, etc wish to continue with their own drill on Thursday, April 11, that is a local decision.)


Via an e-newsletter from Hennepin County:

As part of a statewide drill, the county will activate outdoor warning sirens on Thursday, April 11, at 1:45pm and 6:45pm.

The drills are part of Minnesota Severe Weather Awareness Week, April 8-12. In Minnesota, more than half of federally declared-disasters are due to severe weather. This week serves as a reminder to create, update and practice emergency plans.

Sirens alert people who are outdoors of severe weather warnings and other situations when they should take shelter. People who are indoors may not hear them and should use another means to monitor the weather, such as an NOAA weather radio.

Outdoor warning sirens sound for weather when the National Weather Service has issued a tornado warning and/or if there are reports of sustained straight-line winds in excess of 70 miles per hour. While the county activates sirens, the cities within Hennepin County purchase and maintain the equipment.

Siren safety tips

  • Obey the sirens. Sirens mean people should seek shelter and tune to local weather information on radio, television or an NOAA Weather Radio. Unless it’s a first Wednesday of the month drill, the warning is real.
  • Be weather aware. Know the weather forecast when you start the day, and check the weather throughout the day.
  • Be alert and know where to shelter. If conditions change quickly or you see violent/threatening conditions, seek shelter and tune to local media. Take time today to learn and practice the emergency procedures at your workplace or school.
  • Get a personal warning. Sirens alert people who are outdoors. Inside your home, you may not hear them. Use an NOAA weather radio or a severe weather smartphone app and stay tuned to local media.

Real-time weather monitoring

View interactive weather forecasts, maps and more at Look for more news on the Hennepin County website at Discover how we're making a difference in our communities at

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