|Tornado Watch||Conditions are favorable for the development of severe thunderstorms with the potential of tornadoes.|
|Tornado Warning||Tornado has been sighted or detected on radar. Take shelter immediately.|
|Tornado Warning Siren Signal||
Listen to radio, television, or weather-alert radios for National Weather Service bulletins. Weather-alert radios receive broadcasts and alerts from the Madison National Weather Service and are available at most electronics dealers.
Tornado Safety Tips
Most tornado damage is caused by violent winds. Many injuries and deaths result from flying debris. When a tornado threatens, your immediate action can save your life.
Stay away from windows, doors and outside walls. Protect your head.
- In homes and small buildings go to the basement or to an interior part on the lowest level - closets, bathrooms or interior halls. Get under something sturdy. Do not leave the building until the storm has passed.
- In schools, nursing homes, hospitals, factories, and shopping centers, go to pre-designated shelter areas. interior hallways on the lowest floor are usually best. Avoid auditoriums, gymnasiums, or other structures with wide, freespan roofs.
- In high-rise buildings, go to interior small rooms or hallways.
- In vehicles or mobile homes, leave them and go to a substantial structure. if there is no shelter nearby, lie flat in the nearest ditch, ravine, or culvert with your hands shielding your head. In open country, lie flat in the nearest ditch or ravine with your hands shielding your head.
Note: Take a portable radio and flashlight with you when taking shelter.
Tornado Definition and Characteristics
A tornado is a violently rotating column of air which comes in contact with the ground. Tornadoes vary greatly in size, intensity, and appearance. The average movement of a tornado is 30 mph, but speeds of 70 mph have been reported. Wind speeds of between 100 to over 300 mph are possible. The width of a tornado may range from a few yards to over a mile; the path of a tornado may range from a few hundred yards to hundreds of miles.
Wisconsin Tornado Facts
- Season Wisconsin's tornado season runs from April through September. The greatest numbers of tornadoes have occurred in May, June, and July. Wisconsin averages almost 20 tornadoes per year.
- Time The majority of tornadoes have struck during mid-afternoon or early evening (3p.m.-7p.m.). However, tornadoes may strike at any time, potentially with little or no warning. The devastating Barneveld/Black Earth twister occurred around 1 a.m. without warning.
- Movement Tornadoes usually move from the Southwest to the Northeast; however, direction of travel may be erratic and change suddenly.
- Dane County Tornadoes have occurred in all areas of Dane County, including the Madison Metropolitan area. Dane County is among the top five Wisconsin Counties in the number of tornado occurrences.