July 24, 2014

Preparing for severe weather

The current precipitation and flooding in the state coincides with Wisconsin’s Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness Week.

As Wisconsin transitions from winter mode to spring conditions, Tod Pritchard with Wisconsin Emergency Management reminds us that it’s also tornado season. He says it’s a great time to get reacquainted with the terminology, what to expect, and what to do. “What’s the difference between a watch and a warning? Where should I go with my family if a tornado is coming toward me? What are the safest places to go in our home and our school and our businesses?

The peak tornado season in Wisconsin is April to August, but tornadoes can occur any time of year, including in January. Wisconsin averages 23 tornadoes a year. Last year, only 4 tornadoes were reported in the state. In 2011, 38 tornadoes were confirmed by the NWS.

Pritchard urges residents to Listen, Act and Live! Listen to the warnings, and then take action. “We have all these warning systems, we have emergency weather radios, we now have cell phone alerts, we have the sirens, but if we don’t listen to those things — if we ignore those warnings — we’re putting ourselves and our families at risk.”

A statewide study a couple years ago found that only about 30 percent of the people in Wisconsin have an emergency plan.

A statewide tornado drill will take place Friday April 19th. Mock Tornado Watch will be issued at 1pm, mock Tornado Warning at 1:45pm.

Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM), ReadyWisconsin and the National Weather Service (NWS) have teamed up for Wisconsin’s Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness Week April 15-19, 2013.