February 26, 2009

Statewide Severe Weather Drill Set for March 10th

The National Weather Service (NWS), SEMA and your local your emergency management agency will conduct the Statewide Severe Weather Tornado Drill at 1:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 10, 2009. 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 12, 2009.

This exercise reminds citizens, schools, and business to identify tornado safe shelter locations when tornado warnings are issued. Over Mothers Day weekend on May 10, 2008, a tornado touched down, traveled, and destroyed properties in a 20 mile path across Jasper, Newton and Barry Counties. Sixteen people lost their lives, more than 200 were injured, said John H. Campbell, Acting Director for the State Emergency Management Agency. He also noted an April 2006 tornado destroyed major portions of the Pemiscot County communities of Caruthersville, Braggadocio, and Deering.

The Statewide tornado 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, Davenport, and Memphis offices will initiate the statewide tornado drill exercise. Weather Tone Alert Radios and Broadcasters will disseminate the tornado drill message. Local emergency management directors may active outdoor warning sirens for this drill.

The week of March 16-20, the NWS Springfield Office will focus public awareness on a Turn Around Dont Drown campaign. During the March 2008 floods, the Missouri Water Patrol and local swift water rescue teams put their lives at risk to save citizens who waited too long to evacuate their flooded property or motorists who ignored barricades and drove their vehicles into floodwaters.

March is also an excellent time to remind citizens living in communities that participate in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to purchase a flood insurance policy to supplement a home owners or business insurance policy. Citizens who have flood insurance can file a claim, receive the settlement check and begin repairs on flood damaged property quickly.

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