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Digital Signs to Warn Drivers of Tornadoes

April 17, 2013

AP Photo/Derek Cody

This photo provided by Derek Cody shows a tornado over Shuqualak, Miss. on April 11, 2013. A tornado Thursday killed one person and injured five in Kemper County, and damaged a number of buildings in Noxubee County before moving east into Alabama.

MINNEAPOLIS — Digital billboards in Hennepin and Ramsey Counties will be a new way to warn motorists about tornado warnings.

The billboard warnings are a joint venture of the counties, billboard owners ClearChannel Outdoor, and the National Weather Service. The system is getting up and running this week on 31 digital billboards in the two counties.

Under the system, the National Weather Service will be able to override a billboard's digital programming to flash tornado warnings for 15-minute increments.

The National Weather Service says 9 percent of people killed by tornadoes in the U.S. between 1985 and 2008 were in their cars.

The hope is to eventually extend the system to all 47 ClearChannel digital billboards in the Twin Cities area.

MORE: Tornado Hunt 2013

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On Day 3 of the Tornado Hunt, the team crosses over the border from Oklahoma into Arkansas on Wednesday, April 10, 2013. (Anthony Quintano/NBC News)

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