RACINE, Wis. —County Executive Jonathan Delagrave has joined with Governor Tony Evers in declaring April 8-12 as Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness Week.
According to the NWS, Wisconsin averages 23 tornadoes annually. However, in 2018 the National Weather Service (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 was rated EF2 with winds near 125 mph – the strongest of the year.
Racine County will once again be joining in the statewide Tornado Drills scheduled for Thursday, April 12th. According to David Maack, Racine County Emergency Management Coordinator, schools, businesses, families, and individuals have two opportunities to test their emergency plans during the April 12th statewide tornado drills.
A mock tornado watch will be issued April 11th 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. 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.
In Racine County, Outdoor Warning Sirens will be activated in those communities that have them. However, not all communities in Racine County have Outdoor Warning Sirens. In fact, most do not. In addition, Outdoor Warning Sirens are not meant to be heard indoors. Although you may occasionally hear them indoors they were not designed for that purpose.
“Racine County is not immune from severe weather,” commented David Maack, Racine County Emergency Management Coordinator, “Since 1844, we have had 26 tornadoes and the 1888 tornado which hit the northside of the City of Racine still lists as one of the top 10 killer tornadoes in state history. Therefore, we need to be prepared and we need to take warnings seriously.”
Racine County Emergency Management recommends that every household and business take the following steps to prepare for tornadoes and severe weather:
1. Get a NOAA Weather Radio. Weather radios broadcast official National Weather Service warnings, watches, forecasts and other hazard information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. When watches and warnings are issued, an alarm goes off.
2. Sign up for email and cell phone text weather alerts. The Weather Channel is just one of many who offer this free service. In addition, download the ReadyBadger app at https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.appfactoryuwp.readybadger&hl=en or from the Apple Store. Ready Badger is an emergency alert app to help citizens of the State of Wisconsin stay up to date on emergency information and submit damage reports in the event of a disaster.
3. Get a Kit. When preparing for a possible emergency, it’s best to think first about the basics of survival: fresh water, food, clean air and warmth.
4. Have a plan. Designate shelter areas in the home and workplace. The safest place is generally the basement. If there is no basement, go to the center of an interior room on the lowest level (closet, interior hallway) away from corners, windows, doors, and outside walls. Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside.
5. Practice tornado drills at home and work.