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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 through 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 sounded, 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=severe week (Monday, Preparedness Day; Tuesday, Tornado Safety Day; Wednesday, Flash Flood Safety Day; Thursday, Severe Thunderstorm Day; Friday, NOAA Weather Radio Day).
• 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.
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