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Last week was Severe Weather Awareness week in Wisconsin. With the Safer at Home order, more people are staying home right now, but as the weather gets better, it is likely more people will venture out alone or with immediate family to enjoy trails and waterways.
With COVID-19 still a concern, Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM) would like citizens to keep in mind that some community shelters may be closed, and some of those may be shelters people would normally use to stay safe during severe weather events. According to a recent press release, WEM administrator Darrell L. Williams said the decision to keep those shelters open is at the discretion of the agency which owns and maintains that facility.
Those who normally rely on a community shelter during severe weather events should determine the availability of that facility now, before a severe weather event. By planning ahead, people can change their plans or adjust their response a severe weather event in order to stay safe.
“While COVID-19 remains a serious threat to public health, severe weather also poses a major risk to the safety of everyone in its path,” Williams said. “While we do want people to practice social distancing when possible, that should never stop them from going to a shelter during a dangerous weather event.”
Those heading out to enjoy time outdoors should be sure to check the weather forecast prior to departing. People can also ensure their phone is equipped to receive Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) or have a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radio with a backup battery at the ready. It is also recommended to keep an eye on the weather, as conditions can change quickly over the course of just a few hours.
Beckie Gaskill may be reached via email at [email protected]