Preparing for severe weather

(ABC 6 News) – With severe weather on the radar, local authorities are asking you to take warnings seriously, to stay up to date on changing weather conditions, and to retreat to a safe space, like a stairwell, during tornado warnings.

Area emergency management, law enforcement, and utility companies say the best thing to do during a bad storm is to stay aware.

"It’s one of those days where we want to make sure that everybody is sky alert. Having either an all-weather radio or an app downloaded," said Emergency Management Director for Freeborn County, Rich Hall.

Hall recommends keeping a device charged and near you to receive updates in case the power goes out and to identify the safest space in your home, somewhere on the lowest level, away from windows and exterior walls.

Outdoor sirens will indicate when it’s time to go inside and seek shelter.

If you come across a downed power line you’re asked to call your local public utility company.

If you come across severe damage that’s blocking a roadway, you’re asked to call dispatch.

"If there’s an emergency because of damage whether that be injuries…if there’s road blockage then yes. It’s nice to know those reports so we can get our public works crews out," said the Director of Emergency Management for Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office, Captain Jonathan Jacobson.

Here is a list of contact numbers in the area:

Austin Utilities

Albert Lea Utilities

Freeborn County Dispatch

Mower County Dispatch

Olmsted County Dispatch

Rochester Public Utilities