February 28, 2013

Statewide Tornado Drill to Be Held March 5th

The 39th annual State Tornado Drill will be held on Tuesday, March 5th at 1:30 p.m. as part of the Missouri Severe Weather Awareness Week.

While it is snow that is on the minds of Scotland County residents currently, the National Weather Service, SEMA and local emergency management offices across Missouri will be turning area residents attention to tornados. The groups will conduct the 39th annual State Tornado Drill on Tuesday, March 5th at 1:30 p.m. as part of the Missouri Severe Weather Awareness Week, which runs from March 4-8.

"Severe weather can strike at any time, making it crucial for Missourians to be aware of their sheltering options in various locations," said State Emergency Management Agency Director Paul D. Parmenter. "The statewide tornado drill is an excellent opportunity for all of us to practice seeking shelter in case of a severe weather emergency."

If there is a threat of severe weather in any part of Missouri on March 5th, the drill will be postponed until Thursday, March 7th at 1:30 p.m. The National Weather Service has established a Severe Weather Awareness Week Web site with details on how to prepare your family for severe weather at www.crh.noaa.gov/lsx/?n=severeweek. The Web site provides statistics and details about each day of Severe Weather Awareness Week, which includes Preparedness Day, Tornado Safety Day, Flash Flood Safety Day, Severe Thunderstorm Day and NOAA Weather Radio Day.

According to the National Weather Service, 2011 was the fourth deadliest tornado year in U.S. history. The May 22 Joplin tornado, which damaged or destroyed more than 8,000 homes and businesses and was responsible for 161 deaths, was the deadliest tornado on record since modern recordkeeping began in 1950.

The entire drill can be completed in 15 minutes. Once Missourians hear broadcast drill messages or outdoor warning sirens, they should practice taking 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 hallways, underneath staircases and designated tornado safe rooms. The drill is complete once everyone is accounted for in the designated shelters.


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 of the potential for a roof 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 and no shelter is available, 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.

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