Missouri Statewide Tornado Drill and Severe Weather Awareness Week focus on tornado, flash flooding and other weather threats
• National Weather Service, state and local response agencies use March 3-7 to promote spring severe weather safety
JEFFERSON CITY – The National Weather Service, the State Emergency Management Agency and Missouri's local emergency management offices urge Missourians to use Missouri Severe Weather Awareness Week, March 3-7, to plan and prepare for how they will react to tornadoes, flash flooding and other severe weather. Missouri will conduct the 40th annual Statewide Tornado Drill on Tuesday, March 4 at 1:30 p.m. If severe weather is in the forecast on March 4, the drill will be moved to Thursday, March 6 at 1:30 p.m.
“It’s important to remember that tornadoes and dangerous flash flooding can develop rapidly and with little warning,” Gov. Jay Nixon said. “I encourage Missourians to talk at home, at work and at school about severe weather safety so that in times of real emergency, folks are prepared for whatever Mother Nature brings.”
"I encourage all Missourians, including schools, businesses and recreational groups, to use Severe Weather Awareness Week to plan and practice how they will respond to severe weather in specific scenarios—indoors, outside and while traveling,” said State Emergency Management Agency Director Michael Barrett. "Reacting quickly and properly can save lives.”
On March 4, Missouri outdoor warning sirens and weather alert radios will sound, indicating that Missourians should seek shelter during the statewide tornado drill. The safest shelter location is the basement or an interior room in the lowest level of a building. The drill is complete once everyone is accounted for in the designated shelters.
Missouri's Stormaware.mo.gov website includes detailed videos showing how to react to severe weather and shelter in specific types of buildings—houses with and without basements, mobile homes, schools—and important information about tornado sirens and weather alert radios. The site also includes links to free severe weather texting services that can alert people across Missouri to upcoming severe weather.
The National Weather Service provides safety tips and educational information about each day of Severe Weather Awareness Week on the St. Louis Forecast Office site: http://www.crh.noaa.gov/lsx/?n=severeweek (Monday, Preparedness Day; Tuesday, Tornado Safety Day; Wednesday, Flash Flood Safety Day; Thursday, Severe Thunderstorm Day; Friday, NOAA Weather Radio Day).
· Tornado watch means watch the sky. A tornado may form during a thunderstorm.
· Tornado warning means seek shelter immediately.
· An interior room without windows on the lowest floor is the safest shelter location.
· Do not seek shelter in a cafeteria, gymnasium or other large open room because the roof might collapse.
· Immediately leave a mobile home to seek shelter in a nearby building.
· Overpasses are not safe. An overpass' under-the-girder-type construction can cause a dangerous wind tunnel effect.
· If you are driving, you should stop and take shelter in a nearby building.
· If you are driving in a rural area, drive away from the tornado to the closest building. If you cannot get away, seek shelter in a roadside ditch. Protect yourself from flying debris by covering your head with your arms, a coat or a blanket. Be prepared to move quickly in case the ditch fills with water
· Never drive into standing water. It can take less than six inches of fast moving water to make a slow moving car float. Once floating, a vehicle can overturn and sink.
· NWS – Springfield, Flood Safety & Awareness site: http://www.crh.noaa.gov/sgf/?n=floodawarenessweek
· Missouri Department of Transportation Travelers Map: http://www.modot.mo.gov/
· Missouri Ready In 3 program: http://www.dhss.mo.gov/Ready_in_3/
· FEMA's Animals in Emergencies for Pet Owners DVD: http://www.fema.gov/individual/animals.shtm.
· Missouri StormAware: http://stormaware.mo.gov