Tornado & Severe Weather Safety

April 16, 2012 0 Comments


This is Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness Week in Wisconsin.  Luckily we haven’t had much in the way of severe thunderstorms yet, but that will likely change over the next month or so.  It’s always a good thing to review severe weather terms, safety tips, and refresh your severe weather preparedness plans.  Do you and your family members know what to do in a variety of situations whether you are at home, school, work, shopping, driving, or outside?  Please take time to look over this important information.  It could reduce your risk of injury or death from severe weather.

On Thursday, April 19, a tornado drill will be conducted.  At 1 pm, a test Tornado Watch will be issued for all of Wisconsin.  The test watch will be broadcast on NOAA Weather Radio as a Required Weekly Test–RWT.  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 actual Tornado Warning code.  The drill will conclude at 2 pm.

Here’s the schedule for the tornado drill:

1:00 p.m.  –  A test Tornado Watch is issued for all of Wisconsin by the Storm Prediction Center

1:45 p.m.  –  NWS offices in Wisconsin issue test Tornado Warnings using actual Tornado Warning code (broadcast will state this is a test)

2 p.m.  – Drill ends with the issuances of test Severe Weather Statements

Should severe weather be present anywhere in Wisconsin on the day of the drill, the test watch and warnings will be postponed until Friday.  If severe weather is forecast for Friday, the drill will be canceled.  


Wisconsin Severe Weather Facts

Wisconsin averages 23 tornadoes per year, with most tornadoes occurring in the 3 to 9 P.M. time frame.  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 2011, Wisconsin had 38 tornadoes, 15 in northeast Wisconsin alone!

The “average” Wisconsin tornado has a 10 minute duration, a path length of about 6 miles, and a damage width of about 125 yards.

Another hazard of the warm-season is powerful, straight-line thunderstorm winds that can exceed 60 mph.  Every year Wisconsin will get a few storms that generate hurricane-force winds of at least 75 to 100 mph.  Severe Thunderstorm Warnings are issued for these wind events.

Large hail is also a hazard with thunderstorms.  Severe Thunderstorm Warnings are also issued for storms with hail of at least 1″ in diameter.

Other warm-season hazards localized flash floods or widespread river and lowland flooding, lightning, and excessive heat.

To learn much more about all types of severe weather that impacts our region please go to these great link from the National Weather Service.

About the Author:

StormTrak9 Meteorologist with WAOW-TV in Wausau, WI. Also the owner of Great Lakes Weather Service, LLC.

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