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Feb. 25, 2022

Northwest tornado drill is Tuesday, encourages community to prepare for severe weather


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 a tornado drill during March in preparation for severe weather.

Northwest will test its emergency operations during a tornado drill at 10 a.m. Tuesday, March 1. The University encourages campus-wide participation in the drill, and instructors should take a few minutes during classes to discuss preparedness and shelter locations in their buildings. The statewide drill is expected to last about 10 minutes.

When Northwest students and employees hear broadcast drill messages or outdoor warning sirens, they should know where to seek shelter. In areas where a tornado shelter does not exist, the safest shelter location is an interior room without windows in the lowest level of a building.

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

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 preparation assists our community with process and resource awareness to reduce reaction time in the event of an incident,” University Police Lt. Amanda Cullin said.

In addition to the tornado drill, Severe Weather Awareness Week is March 7-11. The annual effort by the National Weather Service, SEMA and Missouri’s local emergency managers helps Missourians prepare for dangerous tornadoes, severe storms, lightning and flooding.

Missouri’s Storm Aware 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 website also includes links to free severe weather texting services that alert people across Missouri to upcoming severe weather.

For more information about preparing for severe weather on the Northwest campus, contact the University Police Department at 660.562.1254 or police@nwmissouri.edu, or visit nwmissouri.edu/police/.

Be prepared

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

  • Check the forecast often to see if a tornado is coming. Listen to local news or a NOAA Weather Radio to stay informed about tornado watches and warnings.
  • A tornado watch means conditions are favorable for severe weather to develop. Pay attention to changing weather and plan your activities with that in mind.
  • A tornado warning means seek shelter immediately.
  • Without a tornado shelter, an interior room without windows on the lowest floor of a building is the safest location to go.
  • 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 and can cause a dangerous wind tunnel effect.
  • If you are driving, 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 preparing for severe weather on the Northwest campus and in the community, contact the University Police Department at 660.562.1254 or police@nwmissouri.edu, or visit https://www.nwmissouri.edu/police/.


Media contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704