Tornado Awareness Week Slated to Start April 12, Drills to Follow
For the City Times
MADISON — The 2018 Tornado Drills will consist of a mock tornado watch and mock tornado warnings issued for all of Wisconsin. This is a great opportunity for schools, businesses and communities to practice emergency plans.
1:00 p.m. – National Weather Service issues a mock tornado watch for all of Wisconsin (a watch means tornadoes are possible in your area. Remain alert for approaching storms).
1:45 p.m. – National Weather Service issues mock tornado warning for all of Wisconsin (A warning means a tornado has been sighted or indicated on weather radar. Move to a safe place immediately).
2:00 p.m. – End of 1:45 p.m. mock tornado warning drill
6:45 p.m. – National Weather Service issues a mock tornado warning for all of Wisconsin.
7:00 p.m. – End of 6:45 p.m. mock tornado warning drill
The tornado drills will take place even if the sky is cloudy, dark and/or rainy. If actual severe storms are expected in the state Thursday, April 12th, the tornado drills will be postponed until Friday, April 13, with the same times. If severe storms are possible Friday, the drills will be cancelled. Any changes will be issued to local media as well as posted on the ReadyWisconsin website at http://readywisconsin.wi.gov. Updates will also be posted on Facebook (www.facebook.com/ReadyWisconsin), Twitter (www.twitter.com/ReadyWisconsin) and Instagram (www.instagram.com/ReadyWisconsin).
This is a great opportunity for you to practice your tornado emergency plan with family, friends, and co-workers. Schools will also participate in the drill. During storm season – follow this message: Listen, Act and Live. Don’t ignore watches and warnings. Listen and take action. Every second counts. Don’t wait… go to a safe place right away!
Many local radio, TV and cable stations will be participating in the drills. Television viewers and radio station listeners will hear a message at 1:45 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. indicating that “This is a test.” The mock tornado warnings will last about one minute on radio and TV stations across Wisconsin and when the test is finished, stations will return to normal programming.
In addition, alerts for both the mock tornado watch and warnings will be issued over NOAA weather radios. Be sure your weather radio is turned on for this test. If the alarm on your weather radio does not go off for this test, check your weather radio’s programming and quality of reception.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Tornado Test
How does the National Weather Service deliver these tornado tests and real tornado watches and warnings? They use a notification program called the Emergency Alert System or EAS.
What is the Emergency Alert System (EAS)? EAS is a national public alert and warning system that enables the President of the United States to address the American public during extreme emergencies. Alerting authorities like the National Weather Service can also use the state and local EAS to send alerts and warnings to radio and television stations, cable television, and NOAA weather radios (also known as emergency weather radios).
Why do these tests? The National Weather Service, Wisconsin Emergency Management and the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association believe it is important to allow the public to test their NOAA weather radio receivers which can only be activated using a real tornado warning code. The code also triggers the alert to air on most broadcast radio, TV and cable stations. The goal of any drill is to test all electronic systems that alert Wisconsin citizens to impending severe weather that can result in the loss of life and property.
What can I expect to hear/see? The tests may look like a regular EAS test that most people are already familiar with, but there will be some differences in what viewers will see and hear. The audio message will repeat “This is a test.” The video message scroll may not indicate “This is a test” due to programming limitations. The message will last for approximately one minute and then regular programming will resume.
Where will I hear/see the tests? On all participating radio, television, cable providers (who are called EAS Participants) and NOAA Weather Radios. The drills will not activate an emergency notification on your cell phone. During actual tornado warnings your phone will alert you to the danger in your area.
When will the tests occur? A mock tornado watch will be issued on April 12th at 1:00 p.m., and at 1:45 p.m. there will be a mock tornado warning. At 2:00 p.m., the tornado test will end. A second mock tornado warning will be issued at 6:45 p.m. This test will end at 7:00 p.m.
What else might happen? Many communities will activate their outdoor warning sirens for the tests at 1:45 p.m. and 6:45 p.m.
What would cause the tests to be postponed or cancelled? The tornado drills will take place even if the sky is cloudy, dark and/or rainy, and if there are non-severe thunderstorms. We realize a cloudy, dark sky with rain may look threatening to some people. However, this is not a hazardous situation that results in a direct loss of life and/or property.
If actual severe storms are expected anywhere in Wisconsin Thursday, April 12th, the tornado drills will be postponed until Friday, April 13th at the same times. If severe storms are possible Friday, the drills will be cancelled. Severe weather is defined as tornadoes, damaging thunderstorm wind gusts of 58 mph or more, or large hail 1 inch in diameter or larger. Any changes will be issued to local media as well as posted on the ReadyWisconsin website at http://readywisconsin.wi.gov. Updates will also be posted on Facebook (www.facebook.com/ReadyWisconsin), Twitter (www.twitter.com/ReadyWisconsin) and Instagram (www.instagram.com/ReadyWisconsin).
Are any other states participating in this test? Yes, the drills will also occur at the same time in Minnesota and will be broadcast on radio and TV stations there as well.
Tornado Safety at Home, Work, or at Play
Listen, Act, and Live
- In a home or building, avoid windows. Move to a basement, and get under a sturdy table or the stairs. If a basement is not available, move to a small interior room or hallway on the lowest floor and cover yourself with towels, blankets or pillows. If possible, get under a sturdy table, desk or counter. Put as many walls as possible between you and the storm. Wearing a bike helmet will help protect your head.
- If outdoors, seek shelter in a sturdy building. If you cannot get to shelter, stay in your vehicle with the seatbelt on and place your head below the windows. Do not seek shelter under an overpass.
- Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes. You should leave a mobile home and go to the designated storm shelter or the lowest floor of a sturdy nearby building.
- At school, go to the interior hall or room. Crouch low, head down, and protect the back of your head with your arms. Stay away from windows and large open rooms like gyms and auditoriums.
On Thursday, April 12th at 1:45 p.m. and 6:45 p.m., (your station) along with other TV and radio stations across Wisconsin will participate in the statewide Tornado Drills.
These tests will last for about one minute. When it is done stations will return to normal programming.
These Tornado Drills are an opportunity for you and your family to prepare for the upcoming tornado season and practice your emergency plan.
- To learn more, go to (your station website)
- To learn more, go to readywisconsin.wi.gov