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Fake Tornado Warnings Scheduled for Today in Minnesota

Tornados can happen at any time and that’s why the National Weather Service will be issuing two fake warnings today on social media. The idea is to make people aware that they need to make preparedness plans and practice them.

A large lightning bolt in the sky at night.
(TNS) - Outdoor warning sirens will go off across Minnesota twice on Thursday — but it's only a test.

Sirens will blare and the National Weather Service will issue a fake tornado warning on social media at 1:45 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. as part of drill being carried out as part of Severe Weather Awareness Week events.

"This is a great time to practice your readiness plans," the National Weather Service said.

Tornadoes — and even severe storms — have been rare in recent years in Hennepin County, said Eric Waage, director of Hennepin County Emergency Management , elevating the need for people to take Thursday's drill to heart.

"We want people to use them as a tool and plan what they would do if they hear them in a bad weather situation," he said.

Last year, the state saw just 25 twisters, according to the Storm Prediction Center. That was well below the average of 46 a year between 1950 and 2020, the Minnesota Climatology Office said.

The afternoon drill aims to get businesses and schools to enact plans and practice getting people to shelter.

Tornadoes can happen any time, anywhere, but are most likely to occur between 4 and 9 p.m., the National Severe Storms Laboratory said.

That's one of the reasons for a second drill just after dinner time. It is aimed at second-shift workers and to allow individuals and families to practice emergency plans at home, the Department of Public Safety said.

"Where would you go?" Waage asked.

Waage said Thursday is also a good reminder that citizens need to have multiple ways to get warnings. Sirens are one way, but people need additional channels, including listening to radio or TV, checking cellphones and investing in a NOAA weather radio that broadcasts alerts when severe weather strikes.

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