Malfunction causes problem for Mo., Ill. statewide tornado drills

Updated: Mar. 2, 2021 at 10:52 AM CST
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(KFVS) - Missouri and Illinois held statewide tornado drills on Tuesday, March 2 at 10 a.m.

NOAA Weather Radios and sirens across both states alerted listeners at 10 a.m. that the drill has begun.

This also included alert messages sent to mobile devices from the National Weather Service.

The text messages and alerts sent, however, did not clarify that it was only a test.

Many were confused when they received this text alert from the National Weather Service during...
Many were confused when they received this text alert from the National Weather Service during statewide tornado drills in Missouri and Illinois. The word 'Test' was mistakenly not included in the alerts on Tuesday. (Source: KFVS)((Source: KFVS))

The text alert said “TORNADO WARNING in this area until 10:15 AM CST, " which did not include the word ‘test.’

This created some confusion for some, since severe weather was not in the forecast for Tuesday.

The NWS in St. Louis said there was a malfunction between the NWS and the Weather Emergency Alert (WEA) system.

Another problem occurred when the test messages were sent, they accidentally included northern Arkansas mobile users.

The drill is traditionally held during the first two weeks of March each year to remind Missourians and Illinoisans to practice storm ready plans in case there is a severe weather emergency at home, work or school.

The annual drill is part of Severe Weather Preparedness Week, which includes:

  • Monday – Have a Plan/Receive Weather Information Day
  • Tuesday – Tornado Safety Day, including the statewide tornado drill at 10 a.m.
  • Wednesday – Lightning Safety Day
  • Thursday – Hail/Wind Safety Day
  • Friday – Flood Safety Day

Multiple Heartland police departments and emergency management agencies said they will participating in Tuesday’s tornado drill, this includes the Cape Girardeau and Jackson County Emergency Management Agencies and the Caruthersville Police Department.

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