Severe Weather Awareness Week

Welcome to severe weather awareness week in Wisconsin. Now is the time of year to make sure you and your family knows what to do in the event of severe weather. Last year, southeastern Wisconsin had a very quiet severe weather season. That does not mean this year will be the same. We need to be aware of severe weather any time of the year. Wisconsin has had tornadoes in every month, but February. Just a few years ago, we had a powerful tornado on January 7th in Kenosha county. Mother nature does not know what the calendar says.

I am attaching some of the severe weather information you can find on our web site. It is easy to find, but is a bit hidden on our website. Once you are on wisn.com, click on the weather tab on the left side of the screen. After you do this, the weather page will appear. To find severe weather and a lot of other weather information, click on the icon called, “weather”.

Turn To Weather Watch 12 During Rough Weather

 

This is the time of year southeastern Wisconsin is bound to see almost any type of weather: thunderstorms, tornadoes, snow and even heat.

 

Here are some terms you should be aware of:

 

Tornado watch: Conditions are right for tornadoes to form.
Tornado warning: A tornado has been spotted by a trained observer or detected on radar. Take shelter immediately.
Severe thunderstorm watch: Conditions are right for severe thunderstorms to form. Storms could produce hail, intense lightning strikes, strong winds or localized flooding.
Severe thunderstorm warning: Severe thunderstorms have been spotted on radar or damage is occurring. Take shelter immediately.

 

Tornado Safety

 

At Home:
  • Go to the basement and get under the stairs. If you can’t get under the stairs, go to the center of the basement.
  • If you don’t have a basement, go to the first floor bathroom, closet or small room in the center of the house. Get as many walls between you and the outdoors as possible.
  • Get under heavy furniture or cover yourself with a mattress. If a mattress isn’t available, use blankets or pillows. The biggest threat of death or injury comes from flying debris.
  • Keep windows closed and stay away from them.

 

At School:
  • Go to the lowest floor or basement as practiced in drills.
  • Get to interior rooms or hallways and protect your head
  • Stay out of gymnasiums and auditoriums.

 

In Public Buildings:
  • Go to a designated shelter, an interior hallway, or small room on the lowest floor.
  • Stay away from windows.

 

In Open Country:
  • If it is not possible to drive safely away, get out of your car and lie flat in a ditch or depression.
  • Do not seek shelter under an overpass.
  • Stay away from large trees or metal poles.
  • Cover your head.

 

In Mobile Homes:
  • Leave your mobile home immediately.
  • If there is no designated shelter, take cover in a ditch or depression.
  • Have a plan of action and meeting place before threatening weather occurs

 

Flood Safety
  • Flash flood warnings mean that flooding is imminent. If you live in a flood-prone area, be prepared to go to higher ground when a warned is issued.
  • Never drive through water if you don’t know the depth. One foot of moving water can sweep most cards off of roads.

 

Items to put in a family safety kit:
  • Canned foods (fish, meats, poultry packed in water, fruits and vegetables)
  • Nonelectric can opener
  • Bottled water
  • Flashlight
  • Portable radio
  • Extra batteries
  • Fire extinguisher
  • First-aid kit and medication
  • Blankets
  • Powdered/canned milk and juice
  • Baby food and formula
  • Extra set of car keys

 

After a tornado or severe storm:
  • Make sure that everyone in your family is safe.
  • Use your flashlight to inspect for damage.
  • Wear sturdy shoes and protective clothing.
  • Use the telephone only for emergencies.
  • Watch out for downed power lines.
  • Do not venture into the damaged areas, as you may interfere with emergency operations.

 

When severe weather threatens, turn to WeatherWatch 12 for important safety information.
 
As for our weather the rest of the week, plenty of sunshine continues. The wind direction will have a big impact on our temperatures. On Tuesday, the wind will be southeast so most areas will be near 60 with mid 60s inland. A back-door cold front arrives early on Wednesday morning. A “back-door” cold front is one that moves rapidly down Lake Michigan. It brings cooler air from Canada, but gets even colder thanks to the chilly waters of the lake. The “back-door” cold fronts usually bring brisk northeast winds. That means if you live near the lake on Wednesday, the temps won’t get out of the 40s. Take a look at the forecast surface temps from the GFS model:
 
Stay warm on Wednesday. Thanks for reading and stay tuned to the latest forecast on 12 News at 10 PM.
 
Mark
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4 Responses

  1. I found this interesting..the American Red Cross has a slightly different take on what to do if you are outdoors and cannot find shelter…

    “If you are caught outdoors, seek shelter
    in a basement, shelter, or sturdy
    building. If you cannot get to shelter, a
    recent study* suggests doing the
    following: Get into a vehicle, buckle your seat
    belt, and try to drive at right angles to
    the storm movement and out of the
    path.”

    Certainly a bit different than the normal recommendations we see. That said, I had always remembered the NWS going with….

    If you can safely find a ditch, cover your head with your hands.

    But now, it seems that getting in the car and taking off has been moved up the list.

    NWS –
    “Immediately get into a vehicle, buckle your seat belt and try to drive to the closest sturdy shelter. If flying debris hits your vehicle while you are driving, pull over and park.”

    Now it seems if only you are caught in debris or without a car, we get –

    “If you can safely get lower than the level of the roadway, exit your car and lie in that area, covering your head with your hands.”

    More recently, they have now added the following as a LAST resort..but a new recommendation all the same..

    If there is no ditch available, stay in the car with the seat belt on. Cover your head and try to get below the level of the windows.

    All great suggestions for an otherwise unfortunate situation, but I find it interesting to see how different agencies see things slightly different and how long noted processes are being updated.

    • Scott,

      I was just having this conversation. I never liked the getting in the ditch when you see a tornado idea. Too many people were getting out of their cars when they could have safely driven away. I think this will go the way of opening windows before a tornado, like I did when I was a kid. Furthermore, I would rather be in a car than lying in a ditch. I guess it would really depend on each situation. Thanks for the note.

      Mark

  2. –giggles– You opened windows before tornadoes as a kid? Is that like taking a moment to comb your hair before getting hit by a freight train?

    😉

    Yes..I have heard of that..thought it was urban lore…

    • I remember being told that too. Thankfully no tornadoes near me growing up.

      Jeremy

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