To help Missourians prepare for potential tornadoes, Severe Weather Awareness Week will include the annual Statewide Tornado Drill at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.

To help Missourians prepare for potential tornadoes, Severe Weather Awareness Week will include the annual Statewide Tornado Drill at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.
If severe weather is forecast for that day, the drill will be at 1:30 p.m. Thursday.
With spring severe weather season approaching, Gov. Jay Nixon has called on Missourians to renew their efforts to prepare for potential deadly flooding, tornadoes and severe storms this week during Severe Weather Awareness Week.
Nixon announced he has authorized the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) to move forward with proposals for 10 more projects around the state to construct tornado safe rooms or install outdoor warning sirens.
“The severe weather we had in late December was a painful reminder of just how dangerous flooding and severe storms can be at any time of the year,” he said. “I urge all Missourians to plan for severe weather and understand the threat posed by driving in areas experiencing flash flooding.
“I also want to thank all of our dedicated emergency management and response personnel for keeping people safe during severe weather and spreading the word about these very real dangers.”
Severe Weather Awareness Week is an annual effort by the National Weather Service, SEMA and Missouri’s local emergency managers to help Missourians prepare for dangerous tornadoes, severe storms, lightning and flooding. Last year was an especially deadly year for flash flooding in Missouri, with the same number of flooding deaths in Missouri reported by the National Weather Service last year (27) as in the previous eight years combined. According to the weather service, 23 of the people who were killed had been in vehicles.
Flash flooding facts, safety tips and safety videos are available at mo.gov/stopfloodingdeaths. Some of the tips:
• Flash flooding kills far more people in the U.S. than tornadoes, lightning or hurricanes, making it the primary killer among all severe weather hazards, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
• More than half of all flash flooding-related fatalities are vehicle related.
• Less than a foot of moving water is enough to push a vehicle.
• Never expect barriers to block off flooded low-water crossings because floodwaters often rises so quickly authorities cannot close a road or put up barriers in time.
• Motorists may wind up in floodwaters before seeing the flooding because of limited visibility due to darkness or heavy rain. Don’t drive in areas experiencing flash flooding unless absolutely necessary.
• Never think that because you made it across a flooded low-water crossing in the past that you’ll make it the next time. Many areas saw record flooding in 2015 and others will in the future.
• If you’re tempted to drive into floodwater because it appears shallow, understand floodwaters often wash out roads or compromise their structural integrity.
The state has created the StormAware website (stormaware.mo.gov) to show people how to protect themselves from tornadoes in specific types of structures. The site contains videos focused on buildings with and without basements, mobile homes and schools, as well as videos on flash-flooding safety, tornado sirens and weather-alert radios.
More information on severe weather preparedness and how Missouri families, schools and businesses can use Severe Weather Awareness Week to learn more about weather safety terminology, tornadoes, flash flooding, severe thunderstorms and NOAA weather radios is available from the National Weather Service at www.weather.gov/lsx/severeweek.