The sirens and their associated equipment are purchased and maintained by cities, towns and townships within Hennepin County. They are activated at the county level, with authorization from the National Weather Service.
Sirens are used for severe weather warnings, when the National Weather Service has issued a tornado warning, and/or if there are reports of sustained straight-line winds in excess of 70 mph.
Per Minnesota policy, the sheriff’s communication division tests/activates all sirens in Hennepin County at 1 p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month.
2013 Hennepin County siren zones map (PDF)
Hennepin County siren coverage map (PDF)
For your safety
- Outdoor warning sirens are meant to be heard outside. The system is not designed to provide notification inside your home or business. When sirens sound, residents should always seek shelter and tune to local weather information on radio, television, or NOAA Weather Radio for more information.
- No one in Minnesota issues an “all-clear” tone from the outdoor sirens. Such signal may be confusing to residents in the event of additional warnings.
- The threat of severe weather does not stop when the sirens stop. Residents should continue to shelter and stay tuned to local weather information on radio, television or NOAA Weather Radios for the duration of the warning period.
- If the siren sounds while you are in your vehicle, seek shelter immediately. The safest place to be is in a sturdy building, on the lowest level away from windows. If there is not a building nearby, and the tornado is approaching quickly, get as far away from the road and cars as possible and lay in a low area covering your head with your arms. Do not go under an overpass; the bridge could collapse or become a wind tunnel with flying debris.
New siren warning zones
As of 2013, Hennepin County sounds the sirens through a series of 20 zones.
Zone 1 - Minnetrista, Mound and St. Bonifacius
Zone 2 - Independence and Maple Plain
Zone 3 - Deephaven, Excelsior, Long Lake, Minnetonka Beach, Orono, Shorewood, Spring Park and Tonka Bay
Zone 4 - Eden Prairie
Zone 5 - Greenfield
Zone 6 - Loretto and Medina
Zone 7 - Hopkins, Minnetonka, Wayzata and Woodland
Zone 8 - Edina
Zone 9 - Bloomington
Zone 10 - Corcoran
Zone 11 - Medicine Lake and Plymouth
Zone 12 - St. Louis Park
Zone 13 - Minneapolis and St. Anthony
Zone 14 - Ft. Snelling, Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport and Richfield
Zone 15 - Rogers
Zone 16 - Maple Grove and Osseo
Zone 17 - Crystal, Golden Valley, New Hope and Robbinsdale
Zone 18 - Dayton
Zone 19 - Brooklyn Center and Brooklyn Park
Zone 20 - Champlin