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 Thursday, March 10 at 1:30 p.m., as part of Missouri Severe Weather Awareness Week, which runs March 7-11. (The drill was originally scheduled for Tuesday, March 8 but was pushed back due to the weather forecast calling for precipitation on that day.)
"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 December 31 that were responsible for five deaths and 13 injuries. Four of the five people killed were in mobile homes when the deadly tornadoes struck.
|Tornadoes Can Strike
At Any Time Of The Year
The New Year's Eve tornadoes that swept through Missouri to close out 2010 on a tragic note are proof positive that these deadly storms can strike at any time. As a reminder of why it's important to be prepared for severe weather and to seek shelter, CLICK HERE to view photos of the destruction caused by the December 31, 2010 tornadoes.
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.
Helpful Web sites:
National Weather Service - Kansas City/Pleasant Hill, Missouri Severe Weather Awareness Week: Includes an overview, statistics and details about each day of Severe Weather Awareness Week activities -- Monday, Preparedness Day; Tuesday, Tornado Safety Day; Wednesday, Flash Flood Safety Day; Thursday, Severe Thunderstorm Day; Friday, NOAA Weather Radio Day.)
National Weather Service Flood Safety & Awareness: Includes a low-water crossing driving quiz and an interactive program to demonstrate the risks of driving through a road with standing water.
Missouri Department of Transportation Travelers Map: Includes information about flooding and other weather-related road conditions.
Missouri’s Ready In 3 program: Missouri's Department of Health & Senior Services has developed this program to encourage state residents to be ready for severe weather through 1) creating a plan, 2) preparing a key and 3) listening for information.
FEMA’s Animals in Emergencies for Pet Owners information: Includes guidelines for planning for the care of your pets during and after a disaster.
A tornado Watch means tornadoes are possible. Remain alert for approaching storms. Watch the sky and stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for information.
Tornado Warning means a tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Take 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.
If you are driving, you should stop and take shelter in a nearby building.
Overpasses are not safe. An overpass’ under-the-girder-type construction can cause a dangerous wind tunnel effect. In some cases bridges have collapsed, killing and injuring those who are seeking shelter underneath them.
If you are driving in a rural area and spot a tornado, driving away from the tornado’s path may be the safest option if the tornado is far away. If the tornado is bearing down on you, stop your vehicle off the traveled section of the roadway and seek a sturdy shelter or lie flat in a ditch or other low spot. If you are outside, remember to cover your head with your arms, a coat or blanket to protect yourself from flying debris. Be prepared to move quickly in case the ditch fills with water. Also, remember that stopping near the roadway increases the chance of being struck by other motorists—so be alert and exercise caution.
Never drive into standing water. It can take less than six inches of fast moving water to sweep a vehicle into a river or creek. If your vehicle does become stuck in rising water, get out quickly and move to higher ground. Always heed signs that warn of flash flooding.