Statewide Tornado Drill This Week

UPDATE: the statewide tornado drill, originally scheduled for Thursday, April 11 has been rescheduled for Friday, April 12. The information in the article below has been updated to reflect this change.

This week — April 8-12, 2018 — 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, Wisconsin averages 23 tornadoes per year — with most tornadoes occurring in the 3 to 9 p.m. time-frame. The busiest spin-up hour is 6 to 7 p.m. The peak tornado season in Wisconsin is May through August, with June having the greatest number of tornadoes.

In addition to preparedness and education this week, the State of Wisconsin is also conducting a statewide tornado drill on Friday, April 12. A mock tornado WATCH will be issued April 12 at 1 p.m., followed by a statewide mock tornado WARNING at 1:45 p.m. Radio and TV stations across the state will also issue the mock tornado warning. In addition, mock alerts will be issued on NOAA Weather Radios and many communities will sound their tornado sirens.

A mock tornado warning will also be issued at 6:45 p.m. — this gives families and second-shift workers a chance to practice their emergency plans.

The tornado drill will take place even if the skies are cloudy or if it’s or raining. If actual severe storms are expected in the state on Friday, the tornado drills will be canceled.

Important Terms

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 tornadoes, please visit