Weather Safety

Severe Weather Awareness Week (SWAW) is April 17 - 21, 2023

Are you ready for severe weather? Each year, Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) in collaboration with the National Weather Service sponsors Severe Weather Awareness Week in Minnesota. The week is designed to refresh, remind and educate everyone about the seasonal threats from severe weather and how to avoid them. It's also a great time to make and practice your emergency plan and build or refresh your emergency preparedness kit. The campaign kicks off in early April with Severe Weather Awareness Week, and continues through the season. Each page contains tips, fact sheets, data and links to additional resources. Refer to these pages throughout the season, and check back for updates and added resources. Download the 2023 Severe Weather Awareness Week Fact Sheet (PDF)

Statewide Tornado DrillsWeather Siren

The most important events during Severe Weather Awareness Week are the two annual statewide tornado drills.

In Minnesota, the 2023 statewide tornado drills are scheduled for Thursday, April 20.

Outdoor warning sirens will sound in a simulated tornado warning, The first drill is intended for institutions and businesses. The evening drill is intended for institutions and businesses. The evening drill is intended for second shift workers and families. This is the perfect time for families, communities, schools and local businesses to review and talk about their emergency plans and how they can prepare for the upcoming severe weather season.

How to Participate

If you are interested in some ideas on how you, your family, business, or your community can participate in Severe Weather Awareness Week, check out some ideas on this list (PDF).

Educators, leaders or communicators may want to use this Severe Weather Awareness Week PowerPoint Presentation (PDF) to help deliver this information.

Why Severe Weather Awareness Week?

According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Minnesota experiences an average of 29 tornadoes per year. In 2021, Minnesota recorded 64 tornadoes, including 22 on December 15th alone, which were the latest reported tornadoes on record. A record was set in 2010 with 113 tornadoes touching down across the state.

Understanding this threat and knowing what to do when a tornado is approaching can save lives.

Take advantage of Severe Weather Awareness Week to review your own and your family's emergency procedures and prepare for weather-related hazards.

Severe weather normally refers to any dangerous weather event with the potential to cause the loss of life or injuries, significant damage to structures, or any other serious disruption to communities. Forms of severe weather events vary but all types can be potentially hazardous. Storms, including tornadoes, high winds, hail, lightning or flooding, are the most common types in Minnesota. But severe weather can include excessive heat and drought conditions that can spark wildfires can be dangerous as well.

In addition to weather information, there are also guides on basic emergency preparedness for individuals, families, businesses and communities.

Each day of the week highlights an important seasonal weather safety topic.

Check each page link above for specific information about these topics, including factsheets, checklists, data and other resources.

Using this site as a guide, learn how to make a plan (, build an emergency kit (youtube), and stay informed (NOAA).

A general list of suggested common items that you should keep handy at home in an emergency supply kit or nearby has been created. Everyone may have slightly different needs but those on this list have been found through experience to be the most useful. Keep them in your preparedness bag or a bin or other easily accessible location. If you don't keep a kit, know where they are on short notice. My Emergency Supply Kit - For Home (PDF).

What is needed for a Home Emergency Kit