Time to Prepare for Severe Weather Season

By: Dana Brueck
By: Dana Brueck

Wednesday's weather suggests otherwise, but Wisconsin's tornado and severe weather awareness week is still weeks away. That will hit mid-April. Meantime, the storms serve as a reminder to prepare ahead of time.

"So you hear the outdoor emergency sirens what do you do now," J. McLellan of Dane County Emergency Management asks.
You might have only minutes before a tornado strikes ...
"If severe weather is coming and you've got five minutes, you're in bed in mobile home ... by the time you get up, severe weather might be on top of you."
The sound of outdoor emergency sirens signals Mother Nature's return to severe weather season. Dane County's emergency management team prepares for it ... People should too.
"Check emergency supplies. Now is the time to do it," McLellan says.
A map shows some of the county's roughly 100 outdoor emergency sirens. A network of amateur radio operators and severe weather spotters also exists, but emergency management recommends everybody get a weather radio or check the one they have.
"Push the button, make sure it still works ... make sure reception is still there ... check battery backup, if it's dead, you don't know," McLellan says.
And, know where to go.
"What's in your basement? It's now time to check food stuffs make sure they're fresh, or if they're not outdated put some fresh water in old milk jug ... make sure you have batteries for flash lights."
But no matter what warning systems exist, mobile home parks are among the areas most at risk during severe weather.
"The true test is before hand identify some place with easy access that you can get to that is most sheltered area possible," McLellan says.
A recommendation in the county's hazard mitigation plan includes building shelters in mobile home parks, but until happens communication is the first step to safety.
Anyone interested in becoming a severe weather spotter can take a class from the National Weather Service.
The next class in Dane County is at the American Red Cross at the end of April.
Log onto www.countyofdane.com/ems for more information on emergency management.

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