Experts: be ready for severe weather, even with snow on the way

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) -- As another winter snow storm is set to hit Northeast Wisconsin, tornado sirens sound at 1:45 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. across the state, as part of Severe Weather Awareness Week.

“It's important to have a plan ready before real severe weather hits. The time to start thinking about what to do is not when a real warning is issued,” says Jeff Last, Warning Coordination Meteorologist for the National Weather Service Green Bay.

Even though the thermometer doesn’t read spring, the calendar says otherwise.

“It is hard this year,” says Jerad Preston, Director of Brown County Emergency Management. “We haven't had that warm weather yet to kind of get people in the mood that it is springtime, that the storms are coming.”

But with colder temperature this late in the season, experts say people often forget about severe weather preparations.

“What we've found is that people typically don't think about severe weather until it starts to occur. But we really want to encourage people to use this week to get their severe weather safety plan ready,” Last says.

Experts say temperatures and conditions can change quickly this time of year, meaning it’s important to be prepared for the worst – even when the forecast says snow is on the way.

“Back in April of 2011, we had an outbreak of severe thunderstorms and tornados across Northeast Wisconsin, including near Kaukauna,” Last says. “So severe weather can occur in April. Certainly it will increase more as we get into the spring and summer season.”

That means now is the time to have tennis shoes, water bottles and other necessities set aside. That way, you’re prepared when you hear sirens going off.

“It's good to be able to test it now, because you don't want the first time that you're testing where you're going to go and what you're going to do, when the alarms do go off,” Preston adds.

Emergency officials suggest creating a plan with your family ahead of severe weather, so you are prepared in the event of an emergency.

When severe weather does hit, officials say the first step is going indoors. After that, get to the basement, or lowest place in your home. Experts suggest a room without windows, putting as many walls between you and the outdoors.