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Tornado warning sirens in communities across Racine County will sound at 1:45 p.m. Thursday during a statewide tornado drill.

This annual event draws attention to the danger of tornadoes and the steps residents should take if one has been spotted.

“Every person should know what to do when severe weather strikes,” commented Racine County Emergency Management Coordinator David Maack. “And, every home, school and business should not only have a NOAA weather radio but should also look into the various free text alerts that are now available.”

Severe weather last week produced an EF-4 tornado in Illinois, killing two people and leveling 100 homes. Some of the debris from that incident was blown as far north as Caledonia, more than 115 miles away.

Maack offers these tips for surviving a tornado:

  • In a home or building, move to a pre-designated shelter, such as a basement.
  • If an underground shelter is not available, move to an interior room or hallway on the lowest floor and get under a sturdy piece of furniture.
  • Stay away from windows.
  • Get out of automobiles.
  • Occasionally, tornadoes develop so rapidly that advance warning is not possible. Remain alert for signs of an approaching tornado. Flying debris from tornadoes causes most deaths and injuries.
  • Do not try to outrun a tornado in your car; instead, leave it immediately.  However, if the tornado is over a mile away you may be able to safely drive away from it.
  • Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes and should be abandoned.

In addition to the sirens in communities that have them, radio and television stations will air an emergency test for one minute, with clear directives that it is only a test. Regular programming will resume at the conclusion of the test.