2012 has been an active year for tornadoes and severe weather in the southern United States. Now the active weather will inevitably be working its way north. This week is severe weather awareness week. Wisconsin averages 23 tornadoes a year with 38 twisters confirmed in the state last year alone. Across the country 2011 was historic with events like the Joplin and Tuscaloosa tornadoes.
So during this severe weather awareness week ready Wisconsin wants you to remember three words. “Listen, act and live. Listen to the warnings. Take action. Find the best shelter you can. You'll have a much better chance at survival," explains Tod Pritchard from ReadyWisconsin.
Last year 161 people were killed in the EF-5 tornado that tore straight through the city of Joplin. The national weather service conducted a psychological study to see why so many lives were lost.
"They found two really fascinating takeaways. One was a vast majority of people did not seek shelter when that first warning came out, and the other huge take away was that it took people between 2 and 9 confirmations of that warning before they did something."
Pritchard says that’s why it's important to stay informed and react to a tornado without needing several confirmations. Also, he says avoid misconceptions like seeking shelter in the southwest corner of your home.
"That theory came about in the mid 1800s when someone though tornadoes always came from the southwest so you should get in that southwest corner and things will blow over you and not damage."
What you want to do is go to your basement if you have one and get under something sturdy like a desk or stairs that will protect you from debris. If you don’t have a basement, get low in an interior room like a bathroom or closet. And if you live in a mobile home?
"You're safer standing out in the middle of a field than you are in a tornado in a mobile home. So the best advice is to get out immediately. Find safe shelter."
At 1:45pm Thursday you'll be able to practice your tornado emergency plan. A statewide tornado drill will take place for both Wisconsin and Minnesota then.