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Northwest Missouri State University

News Release

March 3, 2017

Northwest to participate in statewide tornado drill March 7, encourages severe weather preparedness

By Lexi Ryan, media relations assistant

Be prepared.

Missouri and Northwest safety experts offer these helpful tips for staying safe during severe weather.

  • A tornado watch means watch the sky. A tornado may form during a thunderstorm.
  • A tornado warning means seek shelter immediately.
  • An interior room without windows on the lowest floor is the safest shelter location.
  • 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. An overpass’ under-the-girder-type construction can cause a dangerous wind tunnel effect.
  • If you are driving, you should stop and take shelter in a nearby building.
  • If you are driving in a rural area, 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.  

For more information about how to better prepare for severe weather on the Northwest campus, contact the University Police Department at 660.562.1254 or, or visit

Northwest Missouri State University, along with the National Weather Service, the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) and local emergency management offices, will participate in the annual statewide tornado drill at 10 a.m. Tuesday, March 7, as part of Missouri Severe Weather Awareness Week, March 5-11.

“I think it’s important for people to be reminded that this time of year, as the weather starts warming up, the potential for severe weather heightens,” Northwest Emergency Management Coordinator Lt. Mike Ceperley said. “Severe weather has a huge impact in our part of the region, from severe thunderstorms, flooding, lightening and tornadoes."

Northwest encourages campus-wide participation in the drill, and faculty are encouraged to take a few minutes during their classes to discuss preparedness and shelter locations in their buildings. The statewide drill is expected to last about 15 minutes.

When Northwest students and employees hear broadcast drill messages or outdoor warning sirens, they should practice seeking shelter. The safest shelter location is an interior room without windows in the lowest level of a building.

Severe weather procedures are posted prominently in campus offices and throughout each building on the Northwest campus.

In addition to the statewide drill, Northwest tests its warning system at 11 a.m. each Wednesday, weather permitting. Any deployment of the warning system outside of that time should be considered an actual emergency and immediate action should be taken. 

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. The year 2015 was an especially deadly year for flash flooding in Missouri with 27 flooding deaths reported by the National Weather Service. According to the weather service, 23 of the people killed had been in vehicles.

“In 2015, there were 280 deaths associated with severe weather across the United States,” Ceperley said. “It’s important to start planning ahead now. Know how you are going to receive alerts, know where to go for more information and most of all, identify storm shelters in the places you frequent the most.”

Missouri’s website includes detailed videos showing how to take shelter in specific types of buildings – such as houses with and without basements, mobile homes and schools – as well as important information about tornado sirens 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.

For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468