The week of April 21-25, 2014 is Tornado & Severe Weather Awareness Week in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Emergency Management team and the five National Weather Service Forecast Offices that service Wisconsin are asking that everyone take time to go over their safety plans so that they will be ready when severe weather strikes.
Thursday, April 24th, a mock tornado drill will be conducted, with a mock tornado watch issued for all of Wisconsin and the adjacent coastal waters of Lake Michigan and Lake Superior at 1 PM. On NOAA Weather Radio All Hazard this mock tornado watch will be broadcast as a normal tornado watch and tone-activated. Additionally, on the NOAA Weather Wire, the test watch will use the product identifier of WCN (Watch County Notification) issued by each of the 5 NWS offices.
At 1:45 P.M., each of the five NWS offices will issue mock tornado warnings. The mock tornado warnings will be broadcast on NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards as a normal tornado warning and tone-activated. Additionally, the test tornado warnings will be issued on the NOAA Weather Wire system by the 5 NWS offices using a test TOR product identifier.
At 2 P.M the mock tornado drill will end with each of the five NWS offices issuing a test Severe Weather Statement (SVS). This test message will be broadcast on NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards as a test Severe Weather Statement but will not be tone-activated. Additionally, the test severe weather statements will be issued on the NOAA Weather Wire system by the 5 NWS offices using a test SVS product identifier.
Here’s the schedule for the mock tornado drill:
1:00 P.M. CDT - a mock (test) tornado watch is issued for all of Wisconsin by the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, OK. Each NWS office issues a test tornado watch as well.
1:45 P.M CDT - The NWS Offices in Milwaukee, Green Bay, La Crosse, Minneapolis/Chanhassen and Duluth will issue their mock (test) Tornado Warnings.
2 P.M. CDT - the mock tornado drill ends with the issuances of test Severe Weather Statements by the five NWS offices
SHOULD SEVERE WEATHER BE PRESENT ANYWHERE IN WISCONSIN ON THE DAY OF THE DRILL...THE TEST WATCH AND WARNINGS WILL BE POSTPONED UNTIL FRIDAY APRIL 25th WITH THE SAME TIME SCHEDULE. IF SEVERE WEATHER IS FORECAST FOR FRIDAY...THE DRILL WILL BE CANCELED.
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. A record-setting 62 tornadoes occurred in 2005, followed by 46 in 2010. In 2008, Wisconsin had 38 tornadoes, including one EF3 tornado in western Kenosha County on January 7th. The "average" Wisconsin tornado has a 7 to 8 minute duration, a path length of about 4 to 5 miles, and a damage width of about 120 yards.
Another hazard of the warm-season is powerful, straight-line thunderstorm winds that can peak at 75 to 150 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, rather than Tornado Warnings. The bottom line is - if you don’t feel safe, head for a sturdy shelter, go the lowest level of the building, and get away from windows and exterior walls.
Other warm-season hazards include large hail stones that can result in damage in the millions of dollars, localized flash floods or widespread river and lowland flooding, lightning, and excessive heat. In fact, excessive heat is the biggest weather-killer in Wisconsin over the long haul!
Here is a listing of the worst killer tornadoes in Wisconsin (not necessarily the most intense or longest-tracked):
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Events/Deaths/Injuries Stats: 1982-2010 (Graphics)
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