Red Cross Urges Minnesota Residents to Prepare for Severe Weather Season during Severe Weather Awareness Week

Published On: April 6th, 20243.9 min readCategories: Local News, News

MANKATO, MN, April 4, 2024 — With the arrival of severe spring weather, including tornadoes, floods and thunderstorms, the American Red Cross urges all residents to prepare now for emergencies. Stay weather aware and listen to local news or NOAA Weather Radio for emergency updates. Download the free Red Cross Emergency App with expanded tornado features to help you prepare to protect your loved ones.

“Our free bilingual app provides expert advice on how to prepare and respond to severe weather and features like real-time local alerts for severe weather and hazards as well as a map with local Red Cross shelters,” said Leah Pockrandt, executive director of the Red Cross serving southwest Minnesota.  emergency-app-graphic.jpg

Text GETEMERGENCY to 90999 or search “Red Cross Emergency” in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. Also, review the tips below for ways to keep you and your loved ones safe. For additional information about how to prepare for, respond to and recover from severe weather, visit our disaster resource library at


• Identify a safe place in your home where household members and pets will gather during a tornado: a basement, storm cellar or an interior room on the lowest floor with no windows.

• In a high-rise building, pick a hallway in the center of the building. You may not have enough time to go to the lowest floor.

• In a mobile home, choose a safe place in a nearby sturdy building. If your mobile home park has a designated shelter, make it your safe place. No mobile home, regardless of how it is configured, is safe in a tornado.

• If you are under a tornado warning, find safe shelter right away.

• Stay away from windows, doors, and outside walls.

• Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You’re safer in a low, flat location.

• Watch out for flying debris that can cause injury or death.

• Use your arms to protect your head and neck.


• If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be in danger from lightning. If thunder roars, go indoors! The National Weather Service recommends staying inside for at least 30 minutes after the last thunderclap.

• If a severe thunderstorm warning is issued, take shelter in a substantial building or in a vehicle with the windows closed. Get out of mobile homes that can blow over in high winds.

• Postpone outdoor activities if thunderstorms are likely to occur. Many people struck by lightning are not in the area where rain is occurring.

• Avoid electrical equipment and telephones. Use battery-powered TVs and radios instead.

• Shutter windows and close outside doors securely. Keep away from windows.

• Do not take a bath, shower or use plumbing.

• If you are driving, try to safely exit the roadway and park. Stay in the vehicle and turn on the emergency flashers until the heavy rain ends. Avoid touching metal or other surfaces that conduct electricity in and outside the vehicle.

• If you are outside and cannot reach a safe building, avoid high ground; water; tall, isolated trees; and metal objects such as fences or bleachers. Picnic shelters, dugouts and sheds are NOT safe.

• Never drive through a flooded roadway. You cannot predict how deep the water may be.

• Stay away from storm-damaged areas to keep from putting yourself at risk from the effects of severe thunderstorms.

• Continue to listen to NOAA Weather Radio or to local radio and television stations for updated information or instructions, as access to roads or some parts of the community may be blocked.

• Help people who may require special assistance, such as infants, children and the elderly or disabled.

• Stay away from downed power lines and report them immediately.

Find out how you can serve your community by searching for current volunteer opportunities. The American Red Cross provides FREE disaster training for all volunteers. Training courses are both online and in-person depending on the course. To find out more about these training opportunities please visit

About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Minnesota and Dakotas Red Cross region is comprised of nine community chapters and five Blood Donation Centers, the Minnesota and Dakotas Region serves more than 7.3 million people, including many Indigenous nations, communities and peoples. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. Learn more at

Share This Story!