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Tornado Watch Issued for Madison: Severe Weather Threatens Southern Wisconsin

A Tornado Watch has been issued for Madison and the surrounding areas, extending until midnight on Tuesday night. This alert indicates that conditions are increasingly favorable for tornadoes and severe thunderstorms in the coming hours. Residents are urged to review their tornado safety plans and stay prepared for the possibility of a Tornado Warning.

A Tornado Watch means that the ingredients for tornadoes are coming together, although a tornado has not yet been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Should a Tornado Warning be issued, it would mean that a tornado has been detected either visually or by radar, requiring immediate action to seek shelter.

Meteorologists emphasize the importance of not relying solely on outdoor sirens for Tornado Warnings. Instead, residents should keep their mobile devices charged and ensure that the volume is turned up to receive Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA). These alerts will display as a white screen with black text on mobile devices when a Tornado Warning is activated. Additionally, having a weather radio set to alert mode is highly recommended.

If a Tornado Warning is issued, the safest place to be is a basement. In the absence of a basement, individuals should seek shelter in an interior room on the lowest floor of the building, putting as many walls as possible between themselves and the outside. Bathrooms beneath staircases can also serve as effective shelters. It’s advisable to have blankets to cover your head and a flashlight handy in case of a power outage.

Even if tornadoes do not form, severe thunderstorms pose significant risks. A Severe Thunderstorm Warning signals the potential for winds in excess of 58 miles per hour and hail at least one inch in diameter. During such warnings, staying indoors and away from windows is crucial.

Residents should remain in their safe spaces until the warnings expire. Typically, Severe Thunderstorm and Tornado Warnings last between 30 to 45 minutes. Meteorologist Sean Sublette explains that the Enhanced Fujita scale, ranging from EF0 to EF5, categorizes the potential damage from minor to catastrophic.

This Tornado Watch for Madison is part of a broader severe weather system affecting parts of Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, and Minnesota. Earlier today, multiple tornadoes touched down in Iowa, causing significant damage and power outages. Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds authorized a disaster emergency proclamation for 15 counties, activating the Iowa Individual Assistance Grant Program to aid affected households.

As the severe weather approaches, residents are advised to secure outdoor items that could be blown away by high winds. With the possibility of storms producing strong tornadoes and damaging winds, it is better to be prepared than to be caught off guard.

The National Weather Service (NWS) has been monitoring the situation closely, predicting that the most severe weather will likely peak in the late afternoon to early evening. Madison, along with other parts of southern Wisconsin, is at a moderate risk, with a 15 percent chance of tornadoes.

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