Tornado drills planned for today

Two tornado drills are planned for Minneapolis today for Tornado Drill Day, part of National Severe Weather Awareness Week.

The first drill will be at 1:45 p.m., during which cities, counties and other jurisdictions throughout the state will activate their warning systems so businesses and schools can practice their shelter programs.

The sirens will go off again at 6:55 p.m., giving families and second-shift employees a chance to run through severe weather plans as well.

Last year forty-three tornadoes struck across Minnesota, up from only eighteen in 2007. However, there were no tornadoes reported in Hennepin County in 2008, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.

Friday, April 24 will be Heat Waves Awareness Day. An average of 219 people die each year from excessive heat, more than the average number of deaths from tornadoes, lightning and floods combined.

For more information and severe weather tips, visit www.severeweather.state.mn.us.