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Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness Week


The week of April 8-12, 2019, 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.

Today, two tornado drills 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 afternoon drill will conclude at 2 pm. An evening drill (Warning only) will occur at 6:45 p.m.

Schedule for the Tornado Drills:

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 

2:00 p.m. - Afternoon drill ends with the issuance of test Severe Weather Statements

6:45 p.m. - NWS offices in Wisconsin issue second test Tornado Warning using actual Tornado Warning code.

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

Tornado drill

The drill is usually held on Thursday, but severe weather postponed it to today.

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. In 2018, there were 33 tornadoes reported in the state. 

The "average" Wisconsin tornado has a 7-10 minute duration, a path length of 4-6 miles, and a damage width of about 120 yards.

Another hazard of the warm-season is powerful, straight-line thunderstorm winds that can exceed 60 mph and cause widespread damage. Severe Thunderstorm Warnings are issued for these wind events. Large hail is also a hazard with storms. Severe Thunderstorm Warnings are issued for storms with hail of at least 1" in diameter.

Tornado map

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More Information to Help You Become Weather-Ready

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 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