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Annual emergency tornado drill set for Thursday

In this photo from Bethany Lutheran Church's Facebook page, workers clean up after the April 2011 tornado that hit Kaukuana
In this photo from Bethany Lutheran Church’s Facebook page, workers clean up after the April 2011 tornado that hit Kaukuana.

KAUKAUNA – Schools, businesses, families, and individuals have two opportunities to test their emergency plans during statewide tornado drills on April 20, 2017.

The drills 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 a news release from the Wisconsin Division of Emergency Management.

Gov. Scott Walker has declared April 17-21, 2017 as Wisconsin’s Tornado & 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.

On 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. Later, a 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 the NWS, Wisconsin averages 23 tornadoes annually. Last year, there were 16 tornado touchdowns in the state. All of the tornadoes were either an EF0 or EF1. However, it’s not a question of if we will have a violent storm, it’s a matter of when.

The tornado drill will take place even if the sky is cloudy, dark and or rainy. If actual severe storms are expected in the state on Thursday, April 20, the tornado drills will be postponed until Friday, April 21 with the same times.

If severe storms are possible Friday, the drills will be cancelled.
Any changes will be issued to local media as well as posted on the ReadyWisconsin website at
http://readywisconsin.wi.gov. Updates will also be posted on Facebook
(www.facebook.com/ReadyWisconsin).

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