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Watches and warnings, how to get alerts kick off Severe Weather Awareness Week kicks off in Minnesota and Wisconsin

DULUTH, MN– Warmer temperatures are beginning to return to the area, and along with that, the threat for thunderstorms and severe weather.

This week, April 8-12, is severe weather awareness week in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Each day of the week, KBJR 6 will highlight a different mode of severe weather, and Monday’s topic is warnings and alerts.

Some wonder what the difference is between a watch and warning being issued.

  • When a watch (severe thunderstorm or tornado) is issued, it means that conditions are favorable for the development of thunderstorms that could produce large hail, damaging wind or even tornadoes. You want to be aware of the changing weather conditions and plan accordingly.
  • If a warning is issued, it means that the severe weather is occurring and those who are in the path need to act quickly and seek shelter.
  • The National Weather Service (NWS) will issue advisories as well, usually for flooding situations. An advisory is issued for conditions that can cause an inconvenience to those impacted and an advisory is not as severe as a warning, but if precautions are not taken, it can lead to life and property being impacted.

Warnings and advisories used be issued for an entire county, but in 2007, they changed the policy, and now issue them for parts of counties. For example, if a warning was issued that would impact Duluth, the NWS would issue the warning for the part of the county impacted (in this case, southern St. Louis County), instead of the entire county.

Sirens can be activated in your hometown if a warning is issued, and the sirens are usually activated in the event of a tornado or damaging, straight-line winds that exceed 70-75 mph.

There are a few ways you can stay up-to-date with the latest weather conditions:

  • Tuning in to local television or radio station
  • Having a weather radio handy that can make a sound if a watch/warning is issued

Stay up to date with current weather conditions by downloading the KBJR 6 Weather App.

KBJR 6 will also showcase different topics throughout severe weather awareness week.

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