Tornado and severe weather awareness week kicks off - WFXS, MyFoxWausau - News and Weather for Wausau, WI

Tornado and severe weather awareness week kicks off

WAUSAU (WAOW) - The warmer weather has many people thinking spring. It's also time to start thinking tornado season. Monday marks the beginning of tornado and severe weather awareness week.

The motto goes like this, “listen, act, live. “

Listening to those warnings and then take action. Don't hear it and say, 'oh its just a tornado warning I think I'll just keep doing what I'm doing,'" said Tod Pritchard, public information officer for Wisconsin emergency management.

Tornado and severe weather awareness week is a nationwide effort aimed at motivating people to prepare in the event of severe weather.

Every year we have to re-remember those tornado warning tips that we set aside for the winter," said Pritchard.

That's why state emergency management officials held a preparedness class in Wausau. Community leaders learned tips to stay safe during a storm.

Take shelter first and then try to get some more information,” Pritchard told the group.

Emergency management officials say it's important to prepare before severe weather hits. They say there are three things you should do; get a kit, make a plan, and be informed.

You need to test those tools you've put in place to get those tornado warnings or notifications," said Steve Hagman, Marathon County emergency management director.

Last year, Marathon County had three severe weather days. That's not a lot.

Marathon County was extremely lucky,” said Hagman.

It's also the reason this emergency operations center was never used.

We've activated it for exercises, we had a couple public exercises and a few other ones too, you know to get people familiar with the equipment and start working together as a team,” explained Hagman.

A statewide tornado drill is planned this Thursday to help make sure you know what to do to keep yourself safe. Newsline 9 will be taking part in the drill. Here's what will happen. At 1:00 p.m. a mock tornado watch will be issued. Then, at 1:45 p.m. a mock tornado warning will be issued. At that time schools and businesses are asked to practice seeking shelter. The drill will end at 2:00 p.m.

Officials say its just another opportunity to practice now in case disaster strikes.

The tornado drill will take place even if the sky is cloudy, dark and/or rainy. But, if actual severe storms are expected in the state on Thursday, the tornado drill will be postponed until Friday.
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