Governor Tony Evers has declared April 12-16 Tornado & Severe Weather Awareness Week in Wisconsin, and Wisconsin Emergency Management and the National Weather Service (NWS) encourages everyone to take time this spring to talk about weather safety with their families, friends and co-workers and participate in the statewide Virtual Tornado Drills. A mock tornado watch will be issued at 1:00 p.m. followed by a statewide mock tornado warning at 1:45 p.m. and again at 6:45 p.m. on Thursday, April 15th. Please pause what you are doing and practice going to your designated shelter locations.
Wisconsin averages 23 tornadoes annually. During the 2020 season, the NWS confirmed 20 tornadoes touched down in the state. While spring and summer are the most active times of the year for tornadoes, they can happen in any month. February is the only month without a reported tornado in Wisconsin. The first tornado of the year took place in March in Grant County and ended up being on the ground the longest for 6.28 miles. July 21st was the most active day with 5 tornadoes occurring in West Central Wisconsin. “Some of the dangers associated with tornadoes and severe weather include loss of power, telephone service and shortage of supplies. To help protect your family, now is the time to put together a home emergency supply kit to include items such as flashlights & extra batteries, non-perishable food, water, first aid supplies & medications, pet supplies, important family documents, and have a NOAA weather radio close by” said Natasha Cardinal, Manager of St. Croix County’s Emergency Management Office.
Listen, Act and Live. Do not ignore watches and warnings. Listen and take action. Every second counts. Do not wait…go to a safe place right away! Outdoor Warning Sirens are not meant to be heard indoors. Although you may occasionally hear them indoors they were not designed for that purpose. Know your weather terminology. A watch means the conditions are favorable and a warning means a storm or tornado has been sighted or tracked on radar.
One change people may notice this year is the drill will not include a mock tornado warning issued as a live code test of the Emergency Alert System. As a result, there will be no test alerts sounded on NOAA Weather Radios. While some television and radio stations may break into coverage or display information on screen during the drill times, many may choose to address the drill during their regular local news programming instead. St. Croix County will test their outdoor warning sirens during the drill times. The drill will take place even if the sky is cloudy, dark and/or rainy. If actual severe weather is expected, the drill will be postponed until Friday, April 16th.
You can find tips on creating a plan with your family at https://readywisconsin.wi.gov. You can also follow ReadyWisconsin on Facebook (https://facebook.com/ReadyWisconsin) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/ReadyWisconsin) for updates throughout the week and tips on emergency preparedness throughout the year! Preparedness information as well as emergency information is also posted on the St. Croix County website (www.sccwi.us/sccess) and our Facebook (www.facebook.com/sccwiess) page.