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Weather warnings to be tested Wednesday

Area sheriff's offices will sound their emergency sirens Wednesday as part of a statewide test of weather warning systems for spring severe-weather awareness week, which begins today through Saturday.

Sirens will be tested at 9:50 a.m. for three minutes. In addition, the National Weather Service will activate weather-alert radios.

Nancy Dragani, executive director of the Ohio Emergency Management Agency, said the Wednesday exercise is a good opportunity for schools, health-care facilities, businesses, and households to practice their own tornado drills and emergency plans.

Ms. Dragani said the weather alert test coincides with an early start to severe weather in Ohio. A confirmed tornado touched down in Fairfield County on Feb. 28, the first February tornado in Ohio since 1993.

The state emergency management agency said the National Weather Service issues a tornado watch when conditions are favorable for development of tornadoes. Watches are usually issued for four to eight hours.

A tornado warning is issued by the National Weather Service when a tornado is detected by Doppler radar or by storm spotters. The agency advises seeking shelter immediately if a warning is issued. Tornado warnings usually are in effect for 30 minutes.

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