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March 8, 2012
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 38th annual statewide tornado drill at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 13, as part of Missouri Severe Weather Awareness Week, March 12-16.
“I strongly encourage the entire Northwest community to participate in the annual Missouri statewide tornado drill because it reminds us to plan for weather emergencies,” Dr. Gerald Wilmes, Northwest’s emergency management coordinator, said. “The series of deadly tornadoes in 2011 and during the last couple weeks highlight the importance of knowing and practicing appropriate emergency response procedures.”
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.
The statewide drill is expected to last about 15 minutes. The Bearcat Alert text system also will be tested.
If there is a threat of severe weather in any part of Missouri March 13, the drill will be postponed until 1:30 p.m. Thursday, March 15.
According to the National Climatic Data Center, Missouri averages 45 tornadoes each year. The state witnessed one of the deadliest tornadoes on record May 22, 2011, when a tornado struck Joplin, causing 161 deaths, injuring more than 1,000 people and damaging or destroying more than 8,000 homes and businesses. Just last week, a tornado traveled through Branson, injuring more than 30 people and damaging dozens of buildings.
“In the past year, including last week, Missouri communities have experienced the devastation that tornadoes can cause,” SEMA Director Paul Parmenter said. “The statewide tornado drill is an excellent opportunity for all of us to practice seeking shelter in case of a severe weather emergency.”
To help individuals prepare for severe weather, the National Weather Service has established a Severe Weather Awareness Week Web site with statistics and details about preparedness, tornado safety, flash flood safety, severe thunderstorms and NOAA weather radio.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
firstname.lastname@example.org | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900
Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468