The State Emergency Management Agency and the National Weather Service will conduct a statewide severe weather tornado drill at 1:30 p.m. March 15. Every school, citizen and business is encouraged to participate in the drill by practicing seeking secure, safe shelter from a "tornado."
The drill takes less than 15 minutes to perform. Once the severe weather announcement is made, citizens are asked to seek shelter in the lowest level (basement if possible) interior room away from windows. Schools and businesses might seek shelter in basements, hallways or under staircases. The drill also highlights the importance of accounting for everyone in your home, class or office.
The NWS Pleasant Hill, Springfield, St. Louis, Paducah and Memphis offices will send out the severe weather drill code. If Missouri is experiencing statewide severe weather conditions, the National Weather Service will hold the statewide drill on the backup date, March 17.
Some terms every citizen should be aware of are:
* Tornado WATCH means watch the sky.
* Tornado WARNING means seek shelter immediately.
* SHELTER is an interior room with no windows on the lowest possible floor. Do not go to a cafeteria, gymnasium or large interior open space because the roof might collapse. Those in a mobile home should leave it immediately and seek shelter in a nearby building or in a ditch. If driving, take shelter in a nearby building, in a ditch or low-lying area away from the car. If outside, remember to cover your head with your arms, coat or blanket to protect from flying debris. Never try to outdrive a tornado.
* A Flash Flood WATCH is issued when rainfall is expected to be heavy enough to produce flash flooding.
* A Flash Flood WARNING is issued when flash flooding is imminent or already in progress. If in its path, move to higher ground immediately.