Keeping Your Family Safe During Severe Weather

By KBJR News 1

August 4, 2010 Updated Aug 4, 2010 at 11:47 AM CDT

From thunderstorms to drought to extreme cold, severe weather affects the northland.

Meteorologist Shannon Murphy begins our special weather report with a look at how you can keep your family safe during severe weather events.

April is always a busy time for meteorologists.

Drastic changes in temperature during the spring season fuel the formation of thunderstorms.

This week has been proclaimed Severe Weather Awareness Week for both Minnesota and Wisconsin to encourage citizens to be prepared when bad weather strikes.

"Last year we had baseball size hail in the Duluth area. Strong downburst winds hit the Northland every year, and these winds can be as strong or stronger than a tornado. And yes they do cause damage. And yes if you don't take precaution you could get injured or even killed."

In 2007, straight line winds hit speeds of eight-five miles per hour, the same strength of a Category one hurricane.

This year, Mother Nature continued to stir up problems during a rare January outbreak of tornadoes in Kenosha County in Southeastern Wisconsin and a rare spring blizzard in April.

Although many people think that twisters are the most deadly thunderstorm phenomenon, it is actually lightning that's kills and injures the most people, which is why even a severe thunderstorm warning cannot be taken lightly.

"Go inside, go into a sturdy building, a basement if you have one, under your basement stairs or get under some heavy type of furniture like a work bench or a pool table to protect yourself from debris."

If you don't have a basement experts say try to put as many walls between you and the outside as possible. In Duluth, Meteorologist Shannon Murphy, the Northland's NewsCenter.

Part of Severe weather Week includes a mock tornado drill, in which sirens will sound shortly before two pm on Thursday.