April 12-06, 2021 is Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness Week in Wisconsin. It’s a great time to review your plans in the event severe weather strikes.
According to the National Weather Service (NWS), Wisconsin averages 23 tornadoes per year. During the 2020 season, the NWS confirmed 20 tornadoes touched down in the state. While spring and summer are the most active time of the year for tornadoes, they can happen in any month.
In addition to preparedness and education this week, the State of Wisconsin is also conducting a statewide tornado drill on Thursday, April 15. At 1:45 p.m. and 6:45 p.m., everyone is encouraged to pause what they are doing and practice going to their designated shelter location. If you are unable to participate at those times or need to stagger practices due to concerns about COVID-19, ReadyWisconsin encourages everyone to make time on the date of the drill to practice your plan.
One change people may notice this year is the drill will not include a mock tornado warning issued. As a result, there will be no test alerts sounded on NOAA Weather Radios. Some communities may still choose to test their outdoor warning sirens during the drill times. However, it is expected many will instead rely on their regular testing schedules to ensure those devices are working properly.
If there is severe weather expected anywhere in the state on April 15, the drill would be postponed to Friday, April 16.
TORNADO WATCH means conditions are right for a tornado to develop. Continue with normal activities, but continue to monitor the situation.
TORNADO WARNING means radar or weather spotters have identified a tornado. The emergency sirens will sound a steady tone for three minutes or longer if there is danger in the immediate area.
In the event of a tornado warning, take the following actions:
- Seek immediate shelter (individuals with disabilities, follow the same procedures). When the warning siren sounds, seek shelter, preferably in a basement or below ground evacuation location. A steel-formed or reinforced concrete building will provide some protection.
- In a multi-story building, seek shelter in an interior hallway or a lower floor.
- Basements and interior hallways or rooms on lower floors offer good shelter.
- If you are surrounded by debris, be aware that removing some of it can cause other debris or part of the building to collapse. If it is not safe or possible to leave the area, stay there until assisted out.
For more information on preparing for severe weather, please visit ReadyWisconsin’s website.