Tornado & Severe Weather Awareness Week encourages Wisconsinites to prepare for the harsh weather ahead

Have an emergency kit and at least 2 methods of receiving severe weather alerts
Published: Apr. 17, 2023 at 7:59 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - When you look outside your window, you may not like the look of all that snow, but experts say now is the time to be prepared for severe weather because you never know when it could strike.

“You think back just a few years ago, we had a Merrill tornado and outbreak in central Wisconsin in 2011 and early April,” said NewsChannel 7 Meteorologist Chad Franzen. “They can happen and we also can still get snow going into May.”

April 17-21 is Wisconsin’s Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness Week. Marathon County is following the state’s lead by educating everyone on how to handle severe weather no matter where you are.

“We encourage you to practice your emergency plans if you’re at work, at home, or at school,” said Sarah Severson, public information officer for Marathon County Emergency Management. “Make sure you know where to go in the event of severe weather.”

Whenever bad weather hits, it’s important to know the difference between a watch and a warning as well.

“A watch means be prepared to go, while a warning means now is the time to go, now is the time to seek shelter,” said Franzen. “Now is the time to be safe and make sure you know where your family is.”

Regardless of if it’s a watch or warning, the message remains the same: Be prepared.

“It’s important this week that we focus on those warm days that are ahead of us. And we make sure that we are prepared for any severe weather, tornadoes, things like that that could affect us here in Marathon County,” added Severson.

“The biggest thing about the severe weather awareness week is practicing to go and to know where you’re going to that safe spot,” said Franzen.

If severe weather arrives, experts stress the importance of having an emergency kit, consisting of flashlights and food, while also being able to grab important documents and medications. They also say you should have at least two different ways to receive weather alerts, including the NewsChannel 7 First Alert Weather App.

To learn more info on how to create your own emergency plan, click here.