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Northwest Missouri State University

News Release

Feb. 26, 2015

Northwest to participate in statewide tornado drill Tuesday

Helpful tips 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 another 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.

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 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 3, as part of Missouri Severe Weather Awareness Week, March 2-6.

Northwest encourages campus-wide participation in the drill, and instructors 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.

“Even though winter is still flexing its muscle in our area and across the region, the spring severe weather season is quickly approaching,” said Lt. Mike Ceperley, emergency management coordinator at Northwest. “This is the time to begin thinking about the impacts that spring and summer severe weather can bring and how to be prepared when faced with any events Mother Nature sends our way. This is an opportunity for all of us to refresh ourselves on our severe weather policies, procedures, shelter locations, how we communicate and how we educate those around us.” 

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. 

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

For more information Severe Weather Awareness Week in Missouri, visit

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