Mock Tornado Drills Planned Thursday Afternoon, Evening

(Juneau) A series of mock tornado warnings will be issued in communities throughout Wisconsin today. It is part of the state’s Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness Week and is meant to allow people to practice their emergency response plans.  At 1 pm today, a tornado watch will be issued.  That will be bumped to a tornado warning at 1:45 pm.  Sirens will sound in many local communities, and the warnings will be broadcast on many radio stations, including AM 1430 WBEV and 95.3 WXRO.  Dodge County Deputy Emergency Management Director Joe Meagher talked about the need for preparedness kits when he was our guest this week on WBEV’s Community Comment.

“That’s a good thing, and I think we have learned over the past month and a half here with the incidents that happened here in Beaver Dam the importance of a kit.  Most importantly what you need in that kit is your purses, your pills, pets, and then paperwork.  If you can have that in a predetermined spot if it does come to the point where we need to evacuate you, you need to move to a different location having that in a kit to go is certainly a good thing.”     

A later drill will occur at 6:45pm to allow residents to think about severe weather awareness in a different setting. Dodge County Emergency Management Director Amy Nehls explains.

“A lot of times when these things happen it is not necessarily during our work or school day.  A lot of times it happens in the late afternoons, early evenings, when kids are home from school, sometimes even waiting for their parents to get home.  And when second shifts are working in business or people are out and about in the community doing their errands and shopping and things like that.  We decided to give everybody a second opportunity to think about what they would do in this specific case for a tornado at that time of the day.”

The drills will happen if the sky is cloudy, dark, or rainy– but will be postponed to the same times Friday if actual severe storms are expected.  If storms are also possible Friday, the drills will be cancelled.  Wisconsin averages 23 tornadoes per year.