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Outagamie County officials ready for tornado season

APPLETON, WI (WTAQ) - Officials in the Appleton area say they're ready for this year's tornado season.  

Outagamie County emergency management officials were heavily criticized last August, after outdoor tornado sirens failed to sound in advance of six tornadoes which hit the region. Those twisters caused over $31 million in damage.  

There was statewide tornado drill Thursday afternoon as part of Wisconsin's Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness Week. It's not only designed to test responses by homes and institutions in the event of a real tornado -- it's also designed to make sure the sirens work.  

Outagamie County Emergency Management Director Julie Loeffelholz said sirens are tested each Saturday during the summers, and the first Wednesday of every month. She tells FOX 11 that sirens and their software are also tested inaudibly each day.  

Meanwhile, county Public Safety Committee chair Jim Duncan says he now feels confident that folks can be warned in a number of ways -- including on Facebook and Twitter.  

A repeater tower and a backup generator are online, and a backup repeater is being created as well.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)