Statewide tornado drill for Wisconsin and Minnesota Thursday
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WMTV, WEAU) - Wisconsin and Minnesota will have a statewide tornado drill on Thursday, April 15th.
In Eau Claire County, the Eau Claire Communications Center will be activating sirens for the drills at 1:45 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. This is being done even though the National Weather Service will not be utilizing an EAS alert due to technical issues.
“Talking with your family now about where you go during severe weather is critical” says Tyler Esh, Eau Claire County Emergency Management Coordinator. “Taking this time to make sure everyone is on the same page will allow you to move more quickly when we get storms.”
STATEWIDE TORNADO DRILL
Wisconsin’s statewide tornado drill will occur on Thursday, April 15th at 1:45 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. During this time, Wisconsinites are encouraged to review and practice their severe weather/tornado plan. Many towns sound their sirens for the drill.
This year, an EAS tone WILL NOT sound over TV/radio stations or on your mobile phone. NOAA Weather Radios will still carry the test.
According to Esh, most severe weather events in Eau Claire County occur between 3 and 10 p.m.
Esh adds that if you do not hear sirens during these drills, do not expect to hear them during an actual emergency and always have multiple ways to get alerts.
According to the National Weather Service, Wisconsin averages 23 tornadoes per year.
BEFORE THE TORNADO
Build an emergency kit & have a communication plan with your family. Make sure you have a plan for your pet, too!
SHELTERING DURING THE TORNADO
Indoors | Put as many walls between you & the outdoors. Avoid Windows.
Go to the lowest level of your home or workplace via staircase. Stay away from windows and large rooms with lightly-supported roofs (gymnasiums, warehouses, etc.) Get down low to the ground and cover your head & neck. Get under a sturdy piece of furniture if its available. If you have time, grab pots/pans, mattress, or a heavy blanket for additional protection.
Outdoors | Get inside if you can; If not, don’t try to outrun the tornado.
If you’re caught outside and can’t get to safe shelter, find a ditch or ravine to take shelter in. Lie flat - covering your head & neck. Use a coat or blanket for additional protection. Flying debris is a killer during severe weather. When outside, it’s all about reducing your surface area (hence lying down flat). Do not take shelter underneath a bridge or overpass! You’re much safer in a low, flat location.
AFTER THE TORNADO
Listen to local authorities for updated information.
Before heading out, make sure you’re wearing thick-soled shoes & remain aware while moving about the damage.
Watch out for fallen power lines or broken utility lines.
Wear thick-soled shoes, long pants, and work gloves if doing clean-up.
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