Severe Weather Week: Alerts, how to receive them & keeping your family safe

MADISON, Wis. — When dangerous weather systems move in, every second matters. That’s why being able to receive severe weather alerts is critical to staying safe.

“Back in the 60s, when everyone had their windows open, maybe you could hear the outdoor sirens, but you can’t hear those indoors and they were never designed to be heard indoors,” Bruce Jones of the Midland Radio Corporation said.

A siren is just one warning, and, once you hear its alarm, it may be too little, too late. That’s why it’s important to put together a three-part severe weather plan: Get Ready for severe weather in advance Get Set when severe weather threatens, and Go to your safe place.  

Weather forecasters usually start to see signs of a severe weather event a few days out. Forecasts from the National Weather Service: Storm Prediction Center will show outlooks of severe weather risks up to a week in advance. These forecasts will range from a marginal risk of isolated severe thunderstorms to high risks for widespread and dangerous severe weather outbreaks.  

During this Get Ready stage, we’ll start talking about the potential for severe weather, adding ALERT DAYS to the forecast when there is a good possibility of it occurring.  

Next comes the Get Set phase. This is your opportunity to take the steps that will help keep you and your loved ones safe.

First and foremost, make sure you have multiple ways to receive weather alerts. Weather radios are a great way to receive weather bulletins. Make sure you have batteries or, if you are relying on a cell phone, make sure it is charged. Know that if you are near the storm or in the path of the storm but not within the polygon under the warning, you will not get warned.  

The bottom line is this: It’s important to know that you have multiple ways of receiving weather alerts during a severe weather event. Again, that siren? That should be your last backup, and it is not your first warning that severe weather is about to strike. Make sure your family also has multiple ways of receiving weather alerts. Whether they are at home, or someplace else. 

Whenever severe weather arrives, you’ll know and be prepared to Go!  

RELATED: Severe Weather Week: Wisconsin’s severe weather history

All this week, News 3 Now’s Severe Weather Series will give you the tools to keep you and your family safe. On Wednesday, Chief Meteorologist Gary Cannalte will review personal safety during severe weather.