Olmsted County changes outdoor warning siren summer testing schedule

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(ABC 6 News) – Olmsted County Emergency Management announced that effective July 1, they will be changing the summer testing schedule for the Outdoor Warning Siren System (OWSS).

The new schedule will be as follows:

Summer (April 1 – October 31)

  • Full 3-minute test on the first Wednesday of each month at 10:00 a.m.
  • “Quiet” test every Wednesday thereafter at 10:00 a.m. During the “Quiet” test, the siren head will rotate, and a low growl will be audible for 5-10 seconds
  • Additional testing will be completed per State of Minnesota guidelines during Severe Weather Awareness week, usually in April of each year.

Winter (November 1 – March 31) – no change

  • 1-minute test on the first Wednesday of each month at 10:00 a.m. as long as the temperature is above 0°F.
  • “Quiet” tests every Wednesday thereafter at 10:00 a.m.

The changes in the testing schedule are representative of the Association of Minnesota Emergency Managers (AMEM) recommendations, which were adopted statewide in April 2023. Although AMEM’s recommended time of the test is 1:00 p.m., Olmsted County, and all cities within it, agree the likelihood for severe weather is more prominent at 1:00 p.m. versus at 10:00 a.m. and will cause less interference for the reduced summer full testing schedule.

The three thresholds for activating the OWSS in Olmsted County are below:

  • RADAR indicated tornado or confirmed tornado sighting by a trained and registered SkyWarn Storm Spotter.
  • Hail of 2 inches or greater in diameter (RADAR indicated or SkyWarn Spotter report).
  • Winds of 70+ MPH.

Anyone that is outside when the Outdoor Warning Siren System is activated, is urged to immediately seek shelter in the lowest level or interior room of a sturdy building and seek further weather information.

For more information about Outdoor Warning Siren Systems, CLICK HERE.