Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness Week

The week of April 21-25 is Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness Week in Wisconsin. The National Weather Service in Wisconsin and Wisconsin Emergency Management are asking that everyone take time to go over their safety plans so that they will be ready when severe weather strikes. The time to prepare is before the storms hit.

On Thursday, April 24, a tornado drill will be conducted. At 1 pm, a test Tornado Watch will be issued for all of Wisconsin and will be broadcast on NOAA Weather Radio. At 1:45 pm, the NWS Green Bay office will issue a test Tornado Warning. The test warning will be broadcast as a test on NOAA Weather Radio using the real Tornado Warning code. The drill will conclude at 2 pm.

Here’s the schedule for the tornado drill:

1:00 p.m.  -  A test Tornado Watch is issued for all of Wisconsin by the NWS Storm Prediction Center

1:45 p.m.  -  NWS offices in Wisconsin issue test Tornado Warnings using actual Tornado Warning code (broadcast will state this is a test)

2 p.m.  - Drill ends with the issuance of test Severe Weather Statements

Note: The test Tornado Warning will NOT be broadcast to cell phones as a wireless emergency alert (WEA).

SHOULD SEVERE WEATHER BE PRESENT ANYWHERE IN WISCONSIN ON THE DAY OF THE DRILL, THE TEST WATCH AND WARNING WILL BE POSTPONED UNTIL FRIDAY, APRIL 25, USING THE SAME SCHEDULE. IF SEVERE WEATHER IS FORECAST FOR FRIDAY, THE DRILL WILL BE CANCELED.


Wisconsin averages 23 tornadoes per year, with most tornadoes occurring from mid-afternoon into the early evening. The peak tornado season in Wisconsin is May through August, with June having the greatest number of tornadoes. A record-setting 62 tornadoes occurred in 2005. In 2012, Wisconsin had only 4 tornadoes. Last year, there were 16 tornadoes reported in the state, including six in east-central Wisconsin early in the morning of August 7.

The "average" Wisconsin tornado has a 10 minute duration, a path length of about 6 miles, and a damage width of about 125 yards.

Another hazard of the warm-season is powerful, straight-line thunderstorm winds that can exceed 60 mph.  Every year Wisconsin will get a few storms that generate hurricane-force winds of at least 75 to 100 mph.  Severe Thunderstorm Warnings are issued for these wind events.

Large hail is also a hazard with thunderstorms.  Severe Thunderstorm Warnings are also issued for storms with hail of at least 1" in diameter.

Other warm-season hazards localized flash floods or widespread river and lowland flooding, lightning, and excessive heat.

More Information to Help You Become Weather-Ready

Impact Based Warnings - The Impact Based Warning (IBW) project is an effort to better communicate severe weather threats with National Weather Service warnings. The project began in 2013 and will continue in 2014. Check out the IBW page here.

Wireless Emergency Alerts - Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) send Tornado Warnings and Flash Flood Warnings to your cell phone. Click here to learn about WEA and how the alerts might impact how you receive a warning. Here is a new PSA featuring a Flash Flood Warning and Wireless Emergency Alerts: Click here

The "Be A Force of Nature" website is located on the National Weather Service's Weather-Ready Nation page. There is a wealth of preparedness material on the page!  Click here

Videos with information about what to do before, during, and after a tornado:

Get Weather-Ready: Before a Tornado

Get Weather-Ready: During a Tornado

Get Weather-Ready: After a Tornado

Links to additional information:

NOAA Weather Radio Flash Floods Tornado Basics
Tornado Safety Wisconsin's Tornadoes NE Wisconsin Tornadoes Severe Thunderstorms
Lightning Severe Weather Watches and Warnings
U.S. Weather Hazards

 


USA.gov is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.