As Severe Weather Awareness Week continues, today’s statewide tornado drill will allow schools, businesses, and families statewide a chance to practice their emergency plans.
Waupaca County Director of Emergency Management, Andy Carlin, says because both a mock watch and warning will be issued, it’s important to understand the difference. While watches describe conditions that can be favorable for severe weather, warnings mean that severe weather is imminent, which is why the National Weather Service has adjusted the way they issue the alerts.
“It used to be county by county, we’d put Waupaca County under a storm warning and it’s be sunny in Waupaca, but stormy in Clintonville,” Carlin explained of the old system. “In the last few years they changed it to more of a polygon system, where the actual warning is over the storm area and not the areas that it isn’t affecting.”
The mock tornado watch ran at 1:00 p.m. and the warning took place at 1:45 p.m. Along with Carlin, Eric Halverson, the Waupaca County Emergency Management Deputy Director, recommended businesses take advantage of the mock drill with everyone else.
“Many businesses already have a plan in place, but the problem is they might have them there, but the employees don’t know anything about them,” said Halverson. “If you don’t know what your plan is, ask your supervisor, ask your boss, or make your own. Bathrooms are always a great place because they’re usually small and they’re well-constructed.”
Along with the afternoon mock drill, there is another evening drill to be held at 6:45 p.m. to encourage families to actively practice their emergency response plan, says Halverson. This is only the second time the state has held an evening mock tornado drill.