What to do in case of severe weather

LOGO 2019


DATE:              May 15, 2024

TO:                  Local Media Outlets

FROM:             Bruce Peterson, Fire Chief/Emergency Management Director

RE:                   What to do in case of severe weather

Storms can develop quickly in Wisconsin, and knowing what to do when a severe weather warning is issued can help keep you and others safe.

Wisconsin made history this year when two tornadoes touched down in early February, which were the first confirmed tornadoes in the state during that month since record keeping began, according to Ready Wisconsin.  

Wisconsin averages 23 tornadoes annually. In 2023, the National Weather Service (NWS) confirmed 21 tornadoes in the state. That includes 15 tornadoes that touched down in a single day, when storms moved across southern Wisconsin on March 31 of last year.

To stay safe during severe weather, ReadyWisconsin encourages people to do the following:

  • Create an emergency plan and practice it.
  • Know where designated shelters are located at home, work, and school. Be ready to go there when a tornado warning is issued.
  • Have multiple ways to receive alerts about approaching severe weather. Outdoor warning sirens, NOAA Weather Radios, local media, and mobile devices are all important tools. Don’t rely on any single source for important life-saving information.
  • If you have a mobile device, make sure it is enabled to receive Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA). On many devices, that option is available in the settings menu. Find out more about WEA at https://readywisconsin.wi.gov/be-informed/be-alert/.
  • Stay weather aware by checking the daily forecast for your area.
  • Create an emergency kit for your home. Find tips for making a kit at https://readywisconsin.wi.gov.

Ideal tornado shelters can include a basement, a ground floor interior room of a building, or a specially constructed safe room designed to withstand high winds and falling debris. It’s also important to remember that outdoor warning sirens are only meant to be heard by people outside. Depending on the direction of the wind the sirens may not be heard depending on location.

For more information on emergency preparedness and advice on creating your own emergency plan, visit https://readywisconsin.wi.gov.