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Our view: Remain prepared for severe weather

1:32 PM, Apr. 13, 2013  |  Comments
Damage was severe in a storm that ravaged the St. Nazianz area on May 12, 2000.
Damage was severe in a storm that ravaged the St. Nazianz area on May 12, 2000.
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This is Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness Week in Wisconsin.

Many mulling bad weather likely hearken back to Manitowoc County's last "extreme" storm, which ravaged St. Nazianz and the surrounding area to the tune of $50 million in damage on May 12, 2000.

The last documented tornado in the county was on July 13, 2004, in the Clarks Mills area, according to Nancy Crowley, emergency services coordinator.

The fact that tornadoes are relatively rare in Manitowoc County does not excuse us from the need to be ready for them. In fact, readiness and remaining alert is needed even more when the tendency is to sleep on a potential problem, lest it catch us completely unaware.

That is why we urge schools, workplaces and families to take part in a statewide tornado drill planned for Thursday. Manitowoc County Joint Dispatch will issue simulated tornado watch and warning messages between 1 and 2 p.m. Thursday. Sirens will not be sounded, however.

Crowley said the drill "is a great opportunity for schools, workplaces and families to review their tornado plans and practice what to do and where to go during severe weather."

Severe weather often leads to a great deal of property damage. Property can be replaced, lives cannot. Taking the proper precautions can save your life and the lives of your loved ones in the event of catastrophic weather.

And it can happen here. Wisconsin averages 23 tornadoes annually but in the last few years the state has had as many as 62 and as few as 13, Crowley said. The peak tornado season in Wisconsin is April to August.

Make sure you and your children know the difference between storm and tornado watches and warnings, and what to do when they are announced. More information is at readywisconsin.wi.gov.

Do not take a cavalier attitude toward severe weather. Don't "chase" storms or attempt to get the best video. Get out of their way, because they can be killers, whether we like to admit it or not. There is no doubt storms can be spectacular natural events, but remember they are more powerful than any of us.

Act accordingly.

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