MADISON, Wis. – Spring has returned to Wisconsin and so has an increased risk of severe weather. To encourage everyone to be prepared for tornadoes, thunderstorms and flooding, Gov. Tony Evers has declared April 17-21 Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness Week in Wisconsin, along with statewide tornado drills on April 20.
“Wisconsin has already had 13 tornadoes touch down in the state this spring, showing just how important it is to be prepared for severe storms,” said Wisconsin Emergency Management Administrator Greg Engle. “WEM’s ReadyWisconsin campaign asks that everyone take just a few moments to make sure their emergency plans are updated and that everyone in their home knows what to do when a weather warning is issued.”
Wisconsin averages 23 tornadoes annually. In 2022, the National Weather Service (NWS) confirmed 28 tornadoes touched down in the state, damaging homes, trees, and power lines. Tornadoes and severe storms can develop quickly, so know what to do and where to seek shelter.
To stay safe during severe weather, ReadyWisconsin encourages people to do the following:
Create an emergency plan and practice it.
Know where designated shelters are located at home, work, and school, and be ready to go there when a tornado warning is issued.
Have multiple ways to receive alerts about approaching severe weather. Outdoor warning sirens, NOAA Weather Radios, local media, and smart phone apps are all important tools. Don’t rely on any single source for important life-saving information.
If you have a mobile device, make sure it is enabled to receive Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA). On many devices, that option is available in the settings menu. Find out more about WEA at here.
Stay weather aware by checking the daily forecast for your area.
Create an emergency kit for your home. Find tips for making a kit at here.
Wisconsin’s annual statewide tornado drills will take place on April 20, 2023 at 1:45 p.m. and 6:45 p.m., offering an opportunity to practice your tornado sheltering plans. Schools, businesses, and homes are encouraged to practice going to their nearest tornado shelter during the drills, as if there were an actual tornado warning in effect.
During the drill times, Wisconsin’s NWS offices will conduct NOAA Weather Radio tests that can be heard if you are actively listening to those devices or have one programmed to activate on test alerts. Many communities may also choose to test their outdoor warning sirens during drill times. Check with local emergency management offices for information on siren testing schedules.
If there is a threat of severe weather in Wisconsin on April 20, the statewide drills will be postponed until Friday, April 21. The drills will go on in all other conditions, including non-severe weather (clouds, rain, dark sky, scattered thunderstorms, etc.). If severe weather is also expected on Friday, the drills will be cancelled.
Notification of the drill status will be posted at http://readywisconsin.wi.gov by 10 a.m. on the morning of April 20.