Severe Weather Week April 16-20, 2012

By Tracey Froiland - Emergency Management Coordinator ThedaCare

It’s not if it will happen, it’s when it will happen.” As we approach the Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness Week in Wisconsin, I have to ask are you ready?

I recently spoke with a staff member from Joplin Mercy St. John’s hospital and he is still in unbelief. He stated that he was one of those people that when the siren went off he went outside to look. Never again will he doubt the sirens or severe weather alerts when they sound, he will seek shelter immediately, it happens so fast.

Sirens are serious!! Sirens are no longer just for tornados. Many counties will sound the sirens during a severe thunderstorm with predicted damaging winds.

Tornadoes are nature’s most violent storms. Spawned from powerful thunderstorms, tornadoes can cause fatalities and devastate a neighborhood in seconds.

Definitions:

  • Tornado Watch - Tornadoes are possible. Remain alert for approaching storms. Stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for information.
  • Tornado Warning - A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Take shelter immediately. (Sirens activated)
  • Severe Thunderstorm Watch - Tells you when and where severe thunderstorms are likely to occur. Watch the sky and stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for information.
  • Severe Thunderstorm Warning - Issued when severe weather has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar. Warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property to those in the path of the storm. (Sirens maybe activated)

What should you do to prepare for the upcoming severe weather season? Have a plan!

At home:

  • Have a family communication plan in place and practice it.
  • Take shelter immediately in the lowest place possible when the sirens sound.
  • Make sure you have a working radio and flashlight in your basement or nearby.

At work:

  • Know your department’s emergency plan.
  • Know where the emergency equipment is located in your department.