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Published April 19, 2012, 07:03 PM

Severe weather sirens serve as early warning

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Despite partly sunny skies in the metro, you might've heard the tornado sirens ringing in your ears this afternoon. It's severe weather awareness week and the state of Minnesota wants to make sure you know exactly what those sirens mean.

Despite partly sunny skies in the metro, you might've heard the tornado sirens ringing in your ears this afternoon. It's severe weather awareness week and the state of Minnesota wants to make sure you know exactly what those sirens mean.

It's a common misconception that these sirens are activated by the National Weather Service. In fact, they're actually activated here in Fargo-Moorhead by the Regional Dispatch Center and can be triggered by emergency managers, law enforcement officials or tornado spotters.

Bill Bergquist – Clay County Sheriff: “When those sirens sound, people generally have some time to get to that meeting place. Generally, that's going to be the lowest level of your house, obviously a basement works best.”

This shouldn't be your only line of defense. We've all seen the horrific damage tornadoes have done just this year. Both Cass and Clay counties utilize the Code Red System. You can specifically request which type of warnings you want to be notified for - from Tornado to Severe Thunderstorm to Flash Flood.

Bill Bergquist: “You know we can't totally depend on those sirens. Sometimes you don't hear them, sometimes you're not paying attention; that's one of the reasons we have the Code Red notification system, just another way to notify people.”

If any of the sirens for the cities in the metro sounds - that includes Moorhead, Dilworth, Fargo, Horace or West Fargo - all other metro area sirens will also be activated.

It's important to also tune into WDAY TV or Radio to check where the storm is headed. There will be another test in Clay County tonight at 6:55.

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