Severe Weather Awareness Week In The Northland

By KBJR News 1

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

It's just a matter of time before thunder and lightning come back into the Northland's weather picture.

The National Weather Service wants us to be aware of and prepared for that fact of northern life so they've declared this "severe weather awareness week."

Awareness will be enhanced through a few storm drills this Thursday.

"We'll be issuing a tornado watch at 9 am and at 1:45 pm we'll issue a test tornado warning." said Mike Stewart of the National Weather Service.

Tornadoes are relatively uncommon here in our region but thunderstorms are far less rare.

Mike Stewart, chief of the Duluth Weather Service Office, wants people to remember they can be almost as deadly as twisters.

"When we issue a severe thunderstorm warning, we expect at least one inch hail and winds at least 60 miles per hour - at least that much. You can have winds 70 to 90 miles per hour which will cause tornado like damage." said Stewart.

The Boundary Waters Blow Down of 1999 is an example of the power of non-tornadic thunderstorms.

Stewart tells us that when severe weather strikes, the age old advice of seeking shelter indoors away from windows is a good start.

The Weather Service reiterates these tips annually because the long winters tend to make us forget just how intense summer storms can get.

"We've had winter weather the last six months and now spring is here and we want people to know the safety rules for thunderstorms and tornadoes and bad weather that can affect their lives." said Stewart.