Schools, businesses, families and individuals have two opportunities to test their emergency plans on Thursday, April 20. The drills are part of the annual severe weather campaign to encourage everyone in Wisconsin to be ready for possible tornadoes and severe weather.

Gov. Scott Walker has declared April 17-21 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 20.

A mock tornado watch will be issued 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.

A second 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.

According to NWS, Wisconsin averages 23 tornadoes annually. Last year, 16 tornadoes touched down in the state. All were either EF0 or EF1, relatively weak tornadoes, but emergency management officials say it’s not a question of if the state will experience a violent storm, it’s a matter of when.

The tornado drill is scheduled to take place even if the sky is cloudy, dark and/or rainy. If actual severe storms are expected in the state on Thursday, the drills will be postponed until April 21.

Any changes will be shared with local media and posted on the Kewaunee County Emergency Management Facebook page.