FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 24, 2015


Missouri Severe Weather Awareness Week and Statewide Tornado Drill underscore need for storm preparedness

March 2 to 6 awareness campaign calls attention to preparing for tornadoes, severe storms, lightning and flooding

In advance of severe weather season in Missouri, the National Weather Service, the State Emergency Management Agency and local emergency managers are promoting Missouri Severe Weather Awareness Week, March 2-6, to help Missourians be prepared for dangerous tornadoes, severe storms, lightning and flooding. Missouri's 41st annual Statewide Tornado Drill will be held on Tuesday, March 3 at 1:30 p.m. If severe weather is in the forecast for March 3, the drill will be moved to Thursday, March 5 at 1:30 p.m.
"As we've seen many times, severe storms can strike anywhere in Missouri at any time with devastating results," State Emergency Management Agency Director Ron Walker said. "Everyone needs to understand that some simple advance planning and preparation can mean the difference between life and death. Planning should start with closely following weather updates anytime severe weather is in the forecast.”
On March 3, outdoor warning sirens and weather alert radios across the state will sound, signaling the beginning of the statewide tornado drill and indicating that Missourians should practice taking shelter. The safest shelter location is the basement or an interior room in the lowest level of a building. Other safe locations for businesses and schools include interior stairways and tornado safe rooms. The drill can be completed in as little as 15 minutes. 
Remember: ·     Tornado watch means watch the sky. A tornado may form during a thunderstorm. ·     Tornado warning means seek shelter immediately. ·     The safest shelter location is an interior room without windows on the lowest floor. ·     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. Their under-the-girder-type construction can cause a dangerous wind tunnel effect. ·     If you are driving, stop and take shelter in a nearby building. ·     If you are driving in a rural area, drive away from the tornado to the closest building. If you cannot get away, 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.
More information can be found on Missouri's Stormaware.mo.gov website, which includes detailed videos and other useful resources about tornado sirens, flash flooding 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.
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.

Please contact your local NWS office for interviews about Severe Weather Awareness Week 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 [email protected]