While snow was falling to the north, and rain was falling in the Saint Cloud area yesterday afternoon, tornado warnings were being issued across southern Minnesota near Mankato, Northfield, Faribault, and Lakeville.

The earliest report of a tornado in Minnesota came just four years ago, when a tornado hit the Zimmerman area on March 6th, 2017.

Tornado Basics

tornado is a narrow, violently rotating column of air that extends from the base of a thunderstorm to the ground. Tornadoes are capable of completely destroying well-made structures, uprooting trees, and hurling objects through the air like deadly missiles. Tornadoes can occur at any time of day or night, at any time of the year, and in all 50 states.

Before the Tornado

Tornado watches highlight the area where tornadoes are most likely to develop. Continue with your normal activities, but keep informed of the latest weather information and be ready to get to shelter in case tornadoes develop quickly.

MN Dept. of Public Safety
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In the Home

Go to the basement if possible. Get under a table, work bench, or some other sturdy furniture to avoid falling debris. A stairwell is also a good place to hide during a tornado.

If You Cannot Get to a Basement

Go to a small interior room on the lowest floor. Closets, bathrooms, and interior halls afford the best protection in most cases, or try to hide under a bed. Get under something sturdy or cover yourself with blankets. Stay away from windows.

National Weather Service

In an Apartment, School or Office Building

Move to the inner-most room on the lowest level or to a pre-designated shelter area. Stay away from windows. If in a hallway, crouch down and protect your head from flying debris. Avoid areas with glass and large roof expansions.

In a Mobile Home, Car, Truck or Other Vehicle

Abandon these as quickly as possible. Seek a sturdy shelter or permanent structure. Remember that many deaths occur when people try to drive away in a vehicle, but get caught in the deadly winds. Avoid bridges since they act as wind tunnels.

Have Ways to Receive Warnings

Be sure you have ways to receive tornado warnings when issued by the National Weather Service. Monitor 98.1 Minnesota's New Country for storm warnings when conditions are favorable for tornadoes. Many smartphone apps also available to provide warning notification.  One particular service is the free Wireless Emergency Alerts provided through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.  A NOAA Weather Radio receiver will sound an alarm to alert you when a tornado warning is issued. More information about NOAA Weather Radio is available on the NOAA Weather Radio page.

KEEP READING: What to do after a tornado strikes