Olmsted County Emergency Operations prepares for storm season - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Olmsted County Emergency Operations prepares for storm season

ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX 47) --You're familiar with the storm sirens and the warnings.

Thursday the Olmsted County Sheriff's Office held an open house at the Emergency Operations Center to show people where they come from.

"It's a lot of things that start happening when a storm starts to hit," said Captain Kevin Torgerson of the Olmsted County Sheriff's Office.

When severe weather is on its way, Olmsted County Emergency Officials are in the weather room in the basement of the Emergency Operation Center.

"Generally our goal is to try to be in this room an estimated 90 minutes before anything might start to impact Olmsted County," said Torgerson.

In that room they can track the storms, even pick them apart and look at what is happening in tiny portions of the county.

They can also communicate with the National Weather Service, the storm spotters and everyone else they work with.

"By what we can see and where we see something happening, we can talk to the firefighters, we can talk to the ham radio folks, and they can give us a real view of what is happening out there," said Torgerson.

When things get nasty -- the wind is strong, the hail is big, and tornadoes are possible -- they can warn people.

"The critical piece of this is the severe weather storm sirens we have available," Torgerson said.

After it passes, if the storm was bad enough, just next door in the Emergency Operations Command Center, they can start the process of cleaning things up.

"That's number one is trying to keep people safe," Torgerson said. "Secondly is trying to keep property safe. If we can't do that we've got to take care of those problems so the lingering damage doesn't last too much longer."

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