State still planning tornado drill Thursday even with big snowstorm brewing

April 9, 2019

Wisconsin residents might be fighting through a blizzard on Thursday, but state officials still plan to run the annual tornado drill that day.

Wisconsin Emergency Management said on Monday the current policy is to “carry forward with the statewide tornado drill, unless there is a potential for tornadoes or severe thunderstorms on the scheduled date.”

WEM talked with the National Weather Service and the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association before deciding to continue with the tornado drill.

The weather forecast calls for blizzard-like conditions in northwest Wisconsin and heavy rain in southern Wisconsin, from Wednesday through Friday.

“Participation in the drill is voluntary,” WEM said. “Local governments, schools and businesses should decide whether to proceed, based on the current conditions (on Thursday) in their area.”

WEM said the storm will be monitored as it approaches Wisconsin, and if chances for severe weather increase, the drill could be delayed until Friday or canceled altogether.

The decision to do so would be made by Wednesday afternoon.

The drill includes a mock tornado watch issued at 1 p.m. Thursday, followed by a mock tornado warning at 1:45 p.m. A second mock tornado warning will be issued at 6:45 p.m.

Alerts will be issued on NOAA weather radios and on TV and radio stations across the state, and many communities will also be sounding warning sirens.