State Emergency Management Agency News Release

JEREMIAH W. (JAY) NIXON, GOVERNOR

Contact:

DONALD L. KING, SEMA DIRECTOR

News Release ID: N09130004

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JEFFERSON CITY

February 27, 2013

Missouri Statewide Tornado Drill and Severe Weather Awareness Week are good time to focus on preparedness

Missouri's StormAware website provides tornado sheltering videos, other safety resources to prepare for March 5 tornado drill

The National Weather Service, the State Emergency Management Agency and Missouri's local emergency management offices urge Missourians to use Missouri Severe Weather Awareness Week, March 4-8, as an opportunity to plan and prepare for how they will react and shelter in response to severe weather. Missouri will conduct the 39th annual Statewide Tornado Drill on Tuesday, March 5 at 1:30 p.m. If severe weather is in the forecast on March 5, the drill will be moved to Thursday, March 7 at 1:30 p.m.

Missouri's Stormaware.mo.gov website includes detailed videos showing how to take shelter in  specific types of buildings—houses with and without basements, mobile homes, schools—and  important information about tornado sirens and weather alert radios. The site also includes links to free severe weather texting services that can alert people across Missouri to upcoming severe weather.

"Severe Weather Awareness Week is a perfect opportunity for schools, families and businesses to revisit what they will do if severe weather hits while at school, home or work," said State Emergency Management Agency Director Donald L. King. "As we all know, tornadoes are a common threat across Missouri, and advance planning and preparation for what you will do when a warning is issued are essential to reacting quickly and sheltering properly.”

On March 5, Missouri outdoor warning sirens and weather alert radios will sound, indicating Missourians should seek shelter during the statewide tornado drill. The safest shelter location is the basement or an interior room in the lowest level of a building. The drill is complete once everyone is accounted for in the designated shelters.

The National Weather Service provides safety tips and educational information about each day of Severe Weather Awareness Week on the St. Louis Forecast Office site: http://www.crh.noaa.gov/lsx/?n=severeweek  (Monday, Preparedness Day; Tuesday, Tornado Safety Day; Wednesday, Flash Flood Safety Day; Thursday, Severe Thunderstorm Day; Friday, NOAA Weather Radio Day).

Remember:
·    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 the roof might 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, 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.  

Helpful websites: 
·    NWS – St. Louis, Spring Weather Campaign: http://www.crh.noaa.gov/lsx/?n=preparedness
·    NWS – Springfield, Spring Weather Campaign features coloring books, pamphlets and videos: http://www.crh.noaa.gov/sgf/?n=floodawarenessweek
·    NWS – Springfield, Driver safety for flash flood and low water crossing information:
·     http://www.crh.noaa.gov/sgf/?n=ffrap_index  and http://www.crh.noaa.gov/sgf/?n=ffrap_lwc
·    Missouri Department of Transportation Travelers Map: http://www.modot.mo.gov/
·    Missouri's Ready In 3 program: http://www.dhss.mo.gov/Ready_in_3/
·    FEMA's Animals in Emergencies for Pet Owners DVD: http://www.fema.gov/individual/animals.shtm.
·    Missouri StormAware: http://stormaware.mo.gov 

Please contact your local NWS office for interviews about Severe Weather Awareness Day or for additional information:

St. Louis: (636) 441-8467
Kansas City: (816) 540-6021
Springfield: (417) 869-4491
Paducah, Ky.: (270) 744-6440
Memphis, Tenn.: (901) 544-0401
Davenport, Iowa: (563) 388-0672
  

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For more information, call (573) 751-4819 or e-mail mike.oconnell@dps.mo.gov