March 3, 2011

Sirens Will Sound March 8th for Missouri's Annual State Tornado Drill

Missouri's 2011 Severe Weather Awareness Week has one goal: to save lives, as the threat for severe weather across the state transitions from snow and ice to severe thunderstorms and flooding. The National Weather Service, the State Emergency Management Agency and local emergency management offices will conduct the 37th annual state tornado drill on Tuesday, March 8 at 1:30 p.m., as part of Missouri Severe Weather Awareness Week, which runs from March 7-11. If Missouri is experiencing statewide severe weather conditions, the drill will be moved to Thursday, March 10 at 1:30 p.m.

"The state tornado drill is important because it reminds all of us to plan for weather emergencies that are a common threat across Missouri," said State Emergency Management Agency Director Paul D. Parmenter. "The drill provides a designated time for schools, businesses and others to practice taking shelter when a tornado warning is issued."

According to the National Weather Service, Missouri experienced 65 tornadoes in 2010, including multiple tornadoes on Dec. 31, which were responsible for five deaths and 13 injuries. Four of the five people killed were in mobile homes when the tornadoes struck.

The entire drill can be completed in 15 minutes. Once Missourians hear broadcast drill messages or outdoor warning sirens, they should practice seeking shelter. The safest shelter location is an interior room without windows in the lowest level of a building. Other safe locations for businesses and schools include basements, hallways, underneath staircases and designated tornado safe rooms. The drill is complete once everyone is accounted for in the designated shelters.

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