LA CROSSE, Wis. -- Severe weather isn't expected to hit the La Crosse area this week, but people in the area will be hearing the tornado sirens on Thursday.

As part of Severe Weather Awareness Week the National Weather Service will conduct its annual statewide tornado drill. The drill gives people the chance to practice their tornado emergency plan with family, friends and co-workers.

It's one of the ways to make sure you're ready when severe weather hits. Another way is to find a reliable source of weather information, whether it's your favorite TV station, website or even a weather radio.

"A lot of these more significant severe weather days like we had in May of 2011 in La Crosse were predicted. You would've at least gotten some advance notice that on those days we are expecting severe weather," says Todd Shea, National Weather Service Warning Coordination Meteorologist.

Thursday's drill starts with a mock tornado watch taking effect at 1 pm for the entire state of Wisconsin. A mock warning will then be issued at 1:45 pm.

If actual severe weather happens anywhere in Wisconsin Thursday afternoon... the tornado drill will be postponed until Friday.

The National Weather Service is also experimenting with some new language in their severe weather warnings in some parts of the country.

The new warnings use words like "mass devastation," "unsurvivable" and "catastrophic."

The aim is to give people an idea of the impact that certain storms could have on their area.

The language changes aren't being used in the La Crosse area yet, but the National Weather Service says they could if the experiment goes well. It's currently being experimented with in Missouri and Kansas.