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Tornado Just Ask Us

A tornado touched down near Argyle last month during a day of severe weather that moved through the area. If a tornado warning is issued, the National Weather Service says residents of that area should go to a basement, safe room or interior room away from windows. 

Q: What should I do if a tornado warning is issued in my area?

A: Tornadoes, like the two reported in southern Wisconsin late last month, start as rotating, funnel-shaped clouds that extend from a thunderstorm to the ground with dangerous, devastating winds that can reach hundreds of miles per hour.

About 23 tornadoes hit Wisconsin a year, according to National Weather Service data.

If a tornado warning is issued, the National Weather Service says residents of that area should go to a basement, safe room or interior room away from windows if at a home.

Those at work or school should follow that place’s tornado procedure. Areas with windows and large, open rooms like cafeterias, gymnasiums and auditoriums should be avoided

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Those caught outside should find a sturdy building if a tornado is approaching. Sheds and storage facilities are not safe, the weather service said.

Vehicles are not safe places of refuge during a tornado, either. Those that can’t make it to a shelter should either get down in the vehicle and cover their head or leave it and take shelter in a low-lying area such as a ditch or ravine.

To be prepared for a tornado, residents should be aware of forecasts for severe weather and have a household communication and safety plan, the weather service advises.

At 81, Dane County has had the most tornadoes in the state since 1844, according to the Weather Service. But that data doesn’t include all tornadoes in the state because data before 1950 is incomplete.

With 64, Grant County has had the second most. Dodge County has had the third most tornadoes in Wisconsin counties at 61.

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Send questions to: justaskus@madison.com; Just Ask Us, P.O. Box 8058, Madison, WI 53708.

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