March 6, 2008

Sirens Will Sound March 11th For Statewide Severe Weather Drills

The National Weather Service (NWS), SEMA and local emergency management will conduct the Statewide Severe Weather Tornado Drill at 1:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 11, 2008. If Missouri is experiencing statewide severe weather conditions, the National Weather Service will hold the statewide drill on the backup date, 1:30 p.m., Thursday, March 13, 2008.

“Severe weather and tornadoes can happen anytime during the year. Missouri received a Presidential Disaster Declaration for Public Assistance for the January 8, 2008, severe weather systems and tornadoes that impacted nine counties,” said Ronald M. Reynolds, SEMA Director. “According to the National Weather Service, Missouri averages 28 tornadoes a year. In 2006, Missouri experienced 102 tornadoes, which caused 13 fatalities and 273 injuries. Helping citizens know how to respond during a tornado is important,” he added.

The drill takes less than 15 minutes to perform. Once the severe weather announcement is made, citizens are asked to seek shelter in the lowest level (basement if possible) interior room away from windows. Schools and businesses might seek shelter in basements, hallways or under staircases. The drill also highlights the importance of accounting for everyone in your home, class or office.

The NWS Pleasant Hill, Springfield, St. Louis, Paducah, KY, Davenport, IA, and Memphis, TN, offices will initiate the statewide tornado drill exercise using the NOAA Weather Warning System. Weather Tone Alert Radios, and Broadcasters will disseminate the tornado drill message. Local emergency management directors may activatee outdoor warning sirens for this drill.

Scotland County Emergency Management Director Bryan Whitney indicated the county will be participating in the drill.

Whitney added that the National Weather Service will be hosting the annual storm spotters class at the Memphis Fire Station at 6:30 p.m. on March 20th. The event is free and open to the public.

“As county coordinator, I hope to see a large group attend this class, as Missouri’s severe weather season is just around the corner,” said Whitney.

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