State officials postponed a general tornado drill until Friday (April 12) because of the potential threat of severe thunderstorms, hail, or tornadoes in southern Wisconsin on Thursday.
Gov. Tony Evers declared April 8-12 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.
Schools, businesses, families, and individuals have two opportunities to test their emergency plans during the drills, which 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. However, in 2018 the NWS confirmed 33 tornadoes in the state. This included 19 tornadoes on Aug. 28, the second largest August tornado outbreak in Wisconsin’s weather history. One of those tornadoes near Brownsville in Dodge County rated as an EF2 with winds near 125 mph – the strongest of the year.
The drill will start with a mock tornado watch issued on at 1 p.m. Friday, 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, including Kewaunee County, will sound their tornado sirens to test their emergency severe weather plans. Later in the day, another 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 evening mock tornado drill will only have the tornado warning being issued, no mock tornado watch.
The tornado drill will take place even if the sky is cloudy, dark or rainy. If actual severe storms are expected, the drills will be cancelled.
Any changes will be issued to local media as well as posted on the Kewaunee County Emergency Management Facebook (www.facebook.com/KewCoEM)