Minnesota saw its first tornado of 2012 on March 19. It traveled about seven miles near the town of Elysian, causing moderate damage. Tornadoes are not rare. In 2010, we faced 104 of these powerfully destructive storms.

Every year, Minnesotans are injured and property is destroyed by the inevitable weather threats that come with spring and summer.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) sponsors Severe Weather Awareness Week each April to remind our residents of the approaching danger and encourage them to prepare for it.

Now is the time to make a plan, get a NOAA weather radio and make an emergency kit. The DPS Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management sponsors a website full of information on weather safety.

Daily topics include both safety tips and data from the National Weather Service. They include:

• Monday: Thunderstorms, Hail, Straight-line Winds, Lightning

• Tuesday: Severe Weather Warnings, Emergency Alert Systems

• Wednesday: Floods and Flash Flooding

• Thursday: Tornadoes - Statewide Tornado Drill Day (1:45 and 6:55 p.m.)

• Friday: Heat Waves

Please visit the site at www.weatherawareness.dps.mn.gov and plan to participate in tornado drills on Thursday, April 19.

Get ready, Minnesota!

Kris Eide, director

Homeland Security and Emergency Management

Minnesota Department of Public Safety