If you hear a tornado siren at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, March 7, don't panic.
Missouri and Illinois are taking part in Severe Weather Awareness Week and both states are holding a statewide tornado drill.
Some communities and counties have opted to not take part in the drill because of severe weather overnight.
During Severe Weather Awareness Week, the National Weather Service offers a different safety message each day:
- Monday, March 6 - Preparedness Day
- Tuesday, March 7 - Tornado Safety Day
- Wednesday, March 8 - Flash Flood Safety Day
- Thursday, March 9 - Severe Thunderstorm Day
- Friday, March 10 - Communication/NOAA Weather Radio Day
On March 7, outdoor sirens and weather alert radios across the state will sound, signaling the beginning of the statewide tornado drill and indicating that you should practice taking shelter.
According to the NWS, 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.
If severe weather is in the forecast for March 7, the drill will be moved to Thursday, March 9 at 10 a.m.
The Missouri Department of Public Safety offering the following tips:
- 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
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