Friday, April 4, 2014

April 21-25 Wisconsin Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness Week

Although we are barely into April, I want to alert you that the severe weather season is upon us, and we need to be alert to dangerous weather conditions.

The week of April 21-25 is Wisconsin Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness Week. I want to make sure that we are all tuned in to the potential dangers and what to do to minimize any threats to the safety of our students and staff. Here are some safety tips for educators from State Superintendent Tony Evers.

School administrators, safety officers, teachers, and other staff are encouraged to take time that week to go over the procedures needed when severe weather strikes to ensure that staff and students are prepared. A voluntary statewide tornado drill, planned for Thursday, April 24,
2014, affords an ideal opportunity to practice their severe weather safety procedures. A mock tornado watch will be issued statewide by the National Weather Service (NWS) at 1:00 p.m., followed by a statewide mock tornado warning at 1:45 p.m.

Wisconsin averages 23 tornadoes annually. Last year, 16 tornadoes were reported in the state by the NWS, including six during the night of August 6-7. The strongest tornado, rated EF2, hit near New London in Waupaca and Outagamie counties on August 7. Two injuries occurred as a result of the tornadoes.

We need to take these drills seriously. I want to make sure we are deadly serious. While we have been spared loss of life from severe weather recently, many of us remember the devastating tornado that hit Barneveld in the late night and early morning hours of June 6-7, 1984, resulting in nine deaths and 200 injuries. We need to remain alert and follow building instructions for severe weather.

I will provide another reminder later this month as we prepare for the awareness week and the tornado drill. We need to always keep in mind our goal of providing a safe learning environment for our students and staff.

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