State tornado drill will depend on the weather

It’s Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness Week and, despite snow in the forecast, Wisconsin’s statewide tornado drill is expected to continue as planned on Thursday.

The National Weather Service is currently anticipating snow will affect much of the state on Thursday, including potential blizzard-like conditions in parts of northern Wisconsin. The expected date of the snowfall currently coincides with the scheduled date of Wisconsin’s statewide tornado drill.

The drill includes a mock tornado watch at 1 p.m., followed by a statewide mock tornado warning at 1:45 p.m. and a second mock tornado warning at 6:45 p.m. During those mock warnings, alerts are issued on NOAA Weather Radios and on TV and radio stations across the state. Many communities will also sound their warning sirens during the drill.

Current policy is to carry forward with the statewide tornado drill unless there is a potential for tornadoes or severe thunderstorms on the scheduled date.

Participation in the drill is voluntarily, and local governments, schools and businesses can decide whether to proceed based on the current conditions in their area. Schools in Wisconsin are required to hold at least one tornado drill during the school year, but there is no requirement that it be done during the statewide drill.

Information on the status of the drill will be shared with news agencies, local governments, and school officials across the state. It will also be posted online at, and shared on the ReadyWisconsin Facebook ( and Twitter ( accounts.