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This is just a drill: Tornado sirens will go off twice today

There is a point to doing this – it's not just random.

If you hear tornado sirens today, they're only a drill.

As part of severe weather awareness week, officials are encouraging people to practice where they'd go when severe weather hits. So they'll be sounding outdoor sirens for simulated tornado warnings (and NOAA Weather Radios will sound too).

The first drill will happen at 1:45 p.m., so people can figure out where they'd go when they're at work or school when severe weather happens.

The second drill is at 6:45 p.m., and is for workers on the late shift, as well as families, so they can plan where to go during severe weather. This one is especially important because severe weather typically happens between 3 and 8 p.m.

For a full schedule of Thursday's tornado drills, click here.

When you hear sirens, seek shelter

When you hear sirens, it's important to find shelter ASAP, and then figure out why the sirens are sounding.

Todd Krause, the warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service, says don't call 911 when you hear the sirens. (Apparently it happens quite a bit, where people call 911 to find out why they're going off.)

When seeking shelter, it's best to get to a basement and away from windows. If that's not possible, click here to read what to do in other situations, including if you're driving, in a mobile home, or camping.

But remember, sirens are only intended to inform people of severe weather when they're outside – it's important to stay weather aware via a NOAA weather radio, a smartphone app, local media, or the regional National Weather Service on Twitter (Minnesota is covered by five office: Twin Cities, Duluth, Grand Forks, Sioux Falls and La Crosse.

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