Severe Weather

Tornado Awareness

Stay Tuned for Storm Warnings

  • Listen to your local radio and TV stations for updated storm information.
  • Know what a tornado watch and tornado warning mean:
    • A tornado watch means a tornado is possible in your area.
    • A tornado warning means a tornado has been sighted and may be headed for your area. Go to safety immediately.
  • Tornado watches and warnings are issued by the County based on information received from trained "Severe Weather Spotters" or from the "National Weather Service" office.

When a Tornado Watch Is Issued

  • Gather lawn and patio furniture, gas and charcoal grills, toys and garbage cans and put in a secure area. High winds often precede a tornado.
  • Listen to your local radio and TV stations for further updates.
  • Be alert to changing weather conditions. Blowing debris or the sound of an approaching tornado may alert you. Many people say it sounds like a freight train.

When a Tornado Warning Is Issued

  • If you are inside, go to the safe place you picked to protect yourself from glass and other flying objects. The tornado may be approaching your area.
  • If you are outside, hurry to the basement of a nearby sturdy building or lie flat in a ditch or low-lying area.
  • If you are in a car or mobile home, get out immediately and head for safety.

After the Tornado Passes

  • Watch out for fallen power lines and do not venture into the damaged area.
  • Listen to the radio for information and instructions.
  • Use a flashlight to inspect your home for damage.

Did You Know?

  • A typical thunderstorm lasts for less than an hour.
  • 1,800 to 2,000 thunderstorms occur around the world at any moment.
  • Flash floods and lightning will kill more people annually than tornadoes.
  • Tornadoes are the most devastating local storms experienced on earth.
  • In Wisconsin, tornadoes have occurred in every month except February.
  • In Wisconsin the most active tornado months, by order are June, July, May and August.
  • 75% of tornadoes will occur between 3 to 7 p.m. with 5 p.m. being the most likely time.
  • Between 1980 to 2007, Washington County had 11 tornadoes.
  • The last confirmed tornado in Washington County occurred on June 3, 2007.

Winter Driving

For most of us, "neither snow or rain, or dark of night" can keep us off the highways - in any season, in any weather. Before cold weather hits, be sure your car is in good running order and is properly serviced. Have a reliable mechanic check your:

  • Antifreeze
  • Battery
  • Ignition
  • Thermostat
  • Wipers and Windshield Washer Fluid

Good tires are also very important.


Before you start out, clean snow and ice off all parts of your car windows, hood, roof, trunk, and lights. Snow left on the car could affect visibility once you start driving. Keep basic items in your car like:

  • Bag of Sand
  • Battery Booster Cables
  • Blanket
  • Flashlight
  • Tow Chain or Rope
  • Windshield Scraper

If You're Caught in a Winter Storm

If you should get caught on the road during a winter storm, keep calm. Give some indication that you're in trouble-turn on your flashing lights, raise the hood, or tie a cloth to an antenna or door handle. Exercise from time to time by clapping your hands and moving your arms and legs. Don't stay in one position too long, but don't overexert yourself by shoveling or trying to push the car.

Winter presents many challenges for the snow belt traveler. By staying calm and using all that's available to stay as warm as possible, your situation will remain one of inconvenience rather than a life or death peril.