Statewide tornado drill delayed due to thunderstorms

Emergency Management encourages practicing a plan so you don't have to think about what to do in severe weather
Published: Apr. 20, 2023 at 5:54 AM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - A statewide tornado drill planned for Thursday is now happening on Friday, April 21. It’s postponed because of the potential for severe weather in the state Thursday. Wisconsin Emergency Management made the decision to avoid any confusion.

The drill will be conducted at 1:45 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. as long as the threat of severe weather has passed, otherwise the drill will be canceled this year. Right now the forecast calls for partly cloudy skies and gusty winds but no severe weather.

Any schools or businesses that planned to participate in the drill can still practice going to their safe places if Thursday works better for them. Even without a drill, it’s always a good time to plan ahead for severe weather, including tornadoes, by having a plan of where you would go in your home or at work if there were a tornado warning.

The safest place is always the lowest level of a building and an interior room away from windows. If you can’t get to a basement or lower level, go to an interior room, such as a bathroom, as far from the outer walls as you can. In a tornado it’s not just the wind that poses a threat but also any debris it’s carrying and the potential to shatter glass.

If you live in an apartment complex or mobile home park, talk to the manager or landlord about the best place to go, such as a clubhouse or secure building.

Having a plan and practicing it will help you remember what to do when a tornado is near.

”It’s always important to practice things. It’s the same reason that at schools they do fire drills or at home you might have done your own fire drill. The reason you do that is because you want to keep practicing something so that when the real event occurs it’s second nature to do the actions that you need to do,” Brown County Emergency Management Director Lauri Maki III said.

Wisconsin averages 23 tornadoes each year, but that number is trending higher. Last year there were 28 tornadoes. The year before that, 41.

”It just seems like every year we’re having more weather events. Whether it’s flooding that we’re facing or wind, tornadoes. Wisconsin and the entire country seem to be facing more events more frequently, the severity seems to be getting worse and worse, so that’s just another reason why it’s important to practice,” said Maki.

You should also have a disaster kit with things like 2 or 3 days worth of water and non-perishable food, batteries, flashlights, a fully-charged portable cell phone charger, and a way to stay informed such as a radio or the First Alert Weather app.

Thursday's drill moves to Friday, but schools, businesses and families are encouraged to practice any time.