Statewide Tornado Drill Today - It's a GO!

The five National Weather Service Forecast Offices that serve Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Emergency Management team are asking that families, schools and businesses will take time to learn about severe weather hazards that affect Wisconsin and go over their safety plans so that they will be ready when severe weather strikes.

During tornado season, Listen, Act and Live. Don’t ignore watches and warnings. Listen and take action. Every second counts. Don’t wait… go to a safe place right away!


Statewide Tornado Drill - Today, Friday, April 19, 2013...It's a GO!

The statewide tornado drill will run from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. CDT for all of Wisconsin.  At 1:00 p.m. a mock tornado watch will be issued for all of Wisconsin.  At 1:45 p.m. CDT a mock tornado warning will be issued for all of Wisconsin. The mock tornado watch and warning expire at 2:00 p.m. CDT.

Friday April 19, 2013

At 1 pm CDT...the National Weather Service will issue a mock Tornado Watch for all of Wisconsin.  This message will be tone-activated on NOAA Weather Radio All Hazard as a "live-code" message.  It will be distributed on the NOAA Weather Wire teletype circuit as a "test" message.  It will not be sent as a Wireless Emergency Alert on mobile devices such as smart phones.  Commercial television/radio and cable TV outlets will vary in how they treat and announce the mock tornado watch.

At 145 pm CDT...the National Weather Service will issue a mock Tornado Warning for all of Wisconsin.  This message will be tone-activated on NOAA Weather Radio All Hazard as a "live-code" message.  It will be distributed on the NOAA Weather Wire teletype circuit as a "test" message.  It will not be sent as a Wireless Emergency Alert on mobile devices such as smart phones.  Commercial television/radio and cable TV outlets will vary in how they treat and announce the mock tornado warning.  Some communities may activate their outdoor sirens.

Some commercial television and radio stations may broadcast an audio message with “This is a test” wording.  Meanwhile, some commercial television stations may have a video message scroll which does not indicate “This is a test” due to programming limitations.  Some television stations may have a broadcast meteorologist read the warning message.  The mock tornado warning message will last for approximately one minute. 

At 2 pm CDT...the National Weather Service will issue a mock Severe Weather Statement which ends the tornado drill.  This message will not be tone-activated on NOAA Weather Radio All Hazard.  It will be distributed on the NOAA Weather Wire teletype circuit.  It will not be sent as a Wireless Emergency Alert on mobile devices such as smart phones.  Commercial television/radio and cable TV outlet will vary in how they treat and announce this "end of the drill" message.  


Postponement or Cancellation of Wisconsin Tornado Drill

1. At 930 am CDT, Friday, April 19, 2013, a final go/no-go decision on the drill will be publically announced. If severe weather is expected during the daytime hours of Friday, April 19th, the tornado drill will be cancelled and not re-scheduled. 

The drill will not be cancelled on April 19th if just dark, cloudy, rainy weather consisting of steady rain, occasional rain or snow, scattered rain showers, fog, or non-severe storms are expected on Friday, April 19th. Severe weather is defined as tornadoes, damaging thunderstorm winds of 58 mph or more, or large hail 1-inch in diameter or larger. 


Promoting Storm Safety  

The National Weather Service, Wisconsin Emergency Management, and ReadyWisconsin have planned a series of special efforts to promote storm safety including:

- A statewide TV public service campaign with tornado survivors urging everyone to have an emergency weather radio.
- A statewide campaign urging everyone to “Listen, Act and Live!”. When you hear a tornado warning find the best shelter available immediately.
- Ready Radio Days. ReadyWisconsin teams up with the National Weather Service and TV stations across the state to promote the use of emergency weather radios.
- ReadyWisconsin Trivia Challenge with emergency weather radios as a prize. Go to
http://readywisconsin.wi.gov to enter. 


Tornado Safety at Home, Work, or at Play......Listen, Act, and Live 

  • In a home or building, avoid windows.  Move to a basement, and get under a sturdy table or the stairs. A specially-constructed "safe room" within a building offers the best protection.  Use an internet search engine and search for "safe room" for more information.
  • If a basement is not available, move to a small interior room or hallway on the lowest floor and cover yourself with anything close at hand: towels, blankets, pillows.  If possible, get under a sturdy table, desk or counter.  Put as many walls as possible between you and the storm.
  • If caught outdoors, seek shelter in a sturdy building.  If you cannot quickly walk to shelter, get into a vehicle, buckle your seatbelt and drive to the closest sturdy shelter.  If flying debris occurs while you are driving, pull over and park.
  • Now you have two options as a last resort:
    - Stay in the vehicle with the seatbelt on and place your head below the windows.
    - If you can safely get noticeably lower than the roadway, exit the vehicle and lie in that area, covering your head with your hands.  Do not seek shelter under an overpass.
  • Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes.  You should leave a mobile home and go to the designated storm shelter or the lowest floor of a sturdy nearby building.
  • At school, follow the drill.  Go to the interior hall or room.  Crouch low, head down, and protect the back of your head with your arms.  Stay away from windows and large open rooms like gyms and auditoriums.
  • Helmets can be added to your emergency kit, stored in the safest part of home.  However, when severe weather is imminent, seek immediate shelter, do not spend time searching around for helmets (e.g., do not head to the garage instead of a basement).  If someone is injured while wearing a helmet, seek emergency help and do not remove the helmet.  Additional head injuries occur if helmets are removed incorrectly. 

Solutions to Weather Radio reception problems

Outdoor Warning Siren fact sheet


Additional Information 

Wisconsin Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness Week

Severe Weather Preparedness

Wisconsin Emergency Management

Ready Wisconsin

Severe Weather Spotter Page

Scary - Looking Cloud Club

NWS Reference Guide - Everything You Wanted to Know About the National Weather Service

Storm Prediction Center - About Tornadoes - About Derechoes - SPC WCM Page

What Do You Know About Wind-Resistant Buildings?

Wisconsin Severe Weather Climatology Page

Are You Ready for Severe Weather? 


ReadyWisconsin Survival Story 

 Survival Stories- The PSA is based on our interview with Larry and Rita in Park Falls. Check out their story and others on our website:

     http://readywisconsin.wi.gov/tornado/survivors.asp 


Kapela, WFO Milwaukee



Return to Latest News

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