Updated, 1:43 p.m. Wednesday: The statewide mock severe weather drill has been moved to Friday due to the possiblity of actual bad weather on Thursday.
The weather for the next few days is expected to bring heavy rains with a possibility of thunderstorms, but nothing severe. However, it's a timely reminder during this week, which is Wisconsin’s Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness Week, to be ready.
The Port Washington Police Department, Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM), ReadyWisconsin and the National Weather Service (NWS) are teaming up to remind residents that severe weather can change your situation in an instant, and you need to have a preparedness plan.
Did you know that …
- Wisconsin averages 23 tornadoes annually.
- Last year, only 4 tornadoes were reported in Wisconsin by the NWS. The strongest tornado in 2012 hit near Patch Grove in Grant County on September 4. No fatalities or injuries were reported.
- In 2011, 38 tornadoes in Wisconsin were confirmed by the NWS, the fourth highest number on record. On August 19, a man was killed when a tornado with winds of 105 mph struck Marinette County.
- The peak tornado season in Wisconsin is April to August, but tornadoes can occur any time of year, like the January 7, 2008 storms near Kenosha.
As part of the week, a statewide tornado drill is planned on Thursday, April 18 at 1:00 p.m.
The National Weather Service will issue a statewide mock tornado watch at that time, and at 1:45 p.m. a statewide mock tornado warning. Many radio and TV stations will participate in the drill. In addition, NOAA weather radios (also known as emergency weather radios) will issue alert messaging. Port Washinton is participating in this drill; Patch is waiting to hear from Saukville officials whether they will, as well.
This is an ideal opportunity for schools, businesses and families to practice safe procedures for severe weather. However, it will not be necessary to contact the Muskego Police Department to ask if there is a real tornado warning. It is only a drill.
If actual severe storms are expected in the state on Thursday, the tornado drill will be postponed until Friday, April 19 with the same times. If severe storms are possible Friday the drill will be cancelled. Port Washington-Saukville Patch will notify residents as well to let them know of any postponements or cancellations.