March 15, 2016

Missouri's annual statewide tornado drill postponed until Thursday, March 17

National Weather Service made the change this morning due to potential for severe weather this afternoon and evening in northeast Missouri

Due to the weather forecast for northeast Missouri now calling for the potential for severe weather this afternoon and this evening, the National Weather Service has postponed today’s scheduled Missouri Statewide Tornado Drill. The postponement is for the entire state of Missouri. People in northeast Missouri are advised to stay up to date on today’s weather forecast and to take protective actions if necessary.

The new date for the drill is Thursday, March 17 at 1:30 p.m. The change to Thursday is for the entire state of Missouri. The National Weather Service’s longstanding plan for the tornado drill calls for postponing the drill if there is a risk of severe weather in any part of the state. This is to avoid any possible confusion about whether a severe weather warning is real.

The 41st annual statewide tornado drill is part of Missouri Severe Weather Awareness week, which runs through Friday, March 18. Details are available at: The Missouri StormAware website contains videos showing how to take shelter from tornadoes in specific types of buildings – homes, mobile homes, schools, etc. –

On Thursday, March 17, the tornado 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. The drill is complete once everyone is accounted for in the designated shelters.



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 rooms 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.