Severe Weather Awareness Week kicks off - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Severe Weather Awareness Week kicks off

Posted: Updated:
Peter Rogers Peter Rogers
Keith Butler Keith Butler
La Crosse, WI (WXOW) -

Across the state of Wisconsin and Minnesota, people are preparing for severe weather season.

April 11 through the 15 is recognized as Severe Weather Awareness Week in both states, addressing the upcoming threat of storms, flooding, and tornadoes that typically increases during the months of June, July, and August.

Two state-wide tornado drills are set to take place on Thursday, April 14. The first will occur at 1:45 p.m. and the second at 6:55 p.m. Both are part of Severe Weather Awareness Week. 

Meteorologist Peter Rogers with the National Weather Service said it's a friendly reminder to be prepared and get somewhere safe.

"Just to get people to start thinking about preparing for the potential for severe weather and making sure that they're safe throughout the season," said Rogers, "Especially with tornadoes or any severe weather for that matter, you want to make sure that you can seek shelter immediately. That's generally in the lowest level of your home. For a tornado it would be in your basement if you have a basement, or a cellar. Otherwise it's the lowest level of your home of the smallest room of your home. Generally like a bathroom or a closet."

Keith Butler, Emergency Management Coordinator for La Crosse County said the week also addresses knowing where to look when bad weather is approaching.

"Certainly the WXOW Weather alert application on your smartphone, that's real smart. I keep that on mine and it alerts me. Even if there's lightning in the area, it will tell me where those strikes are and I can set it for how I want it to alert me," said Butler.

SEE: WXOW Weather

Weather alert radios, websites, and other social media sources are beneficial in receiving information quickly and efficiently.

Officials added that knowing the difference between a watch and a warning is key to staying alert.

  • Watch: Issued anywhere from 2 to 6 hours before an event would occur, signaling that something could happen.
  • Warning: Issued anywhere from 10 minutes or more before an event will strike, signaling that a storm has been spotted and people should take shelter immediately. 

"Those warnings are generally based off of radar information that we're looking at here locally from our office or reports that we've received from the ground from some of our spotters," added Rogers.

Historically, the most severe weather threats occur in June, July, and August. However, now is the time to refresh and prepare for what to do when the storm arrives.

MORE INFORMATION: Wisconsin Emergency Management

MORE INFORMATION: The National Weather Service

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