MADISON, Wis. — Gov. Scott Walker has declared April 9-13 as Wisconsin’s Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness Week. Wisconsin Emergency Management, the National Weather Service (NWS) and the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association (WBA) have once again teamed up to sponsor the statewide tornado drills scheduled for Thursday, April 12.
Schools, businesses, families, and individuals have two opportunities to test their emergency plans during the April 12 statewide tornado drills. The drills are part of the annual spring severe weather campaign to encourage everyone in Wisconsin to be ready for possible tornadoes and severe weather.
According to the NWS, Wisconsin averages 23 tornadoes annually. Last year, there were 23 tornado touchdowns in the state. While most were either EF0 or EF1, the state did record an EF3 on May 16, 2017. The tornado followed an 83-mile path across Polk, Barron, Rusk, and Price counties, killing one person and causing widespread damage. The state also experienced an outbreak of 10 tornadoes on June 14, 2017, across Shawano, Winnebago, Outagamie, Brown, and Waushara counties. Richland County experienced 2 tornadoes in one day; August 18, 2005 an EF2 tornado struck the Village of Viola and an EF0 struck the unincorporated Village of Orion along the Wisconsin River in southern Richland County.
A mock tornado watch will be issued April 12 at 1 p.m., followed by a statewide mock tornado warning at 1:45 p.m. Many radio and TV stations across the state will issue the test tornado warnings. In addition, mock alerts will be issued on NOAA Weather Radios and many communities will sound their tornado sirens to test their emergency severe weather plans. Later, a mock tornado warning will be issued at 6:45 p.m. to give families and second-shift workers a chance to practice their emergency plans.
The tornado drill will take place even if the sky is cloudy, dark or rainy. If actual severe storms are expected in the state on Thursday, April 12, the tornado drills will be postponed until Friday, April 13 with the same times. If severe storms are possible Friday, the drills will be cancelled.
Any changes will be issued to local media as well as posted on the ReadyWisconsin website at http://readywisconsin.wi.gov.
Updates will also be posted on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/ReadyWisconsin www.facebook.com/ReadyWisconsin), Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/ReadyWisconsin www.twitter.com/ReadyWisconsin), and Instagram (http://www.instagram.com/ReadyWisconsin www.instagram.com/ReadyWisconsin).