Here in West Central Missouri, we can experience severe weather any time of year.

Take for example the severe storms and six tornados that rolled across the state on December 10. Those storms killed two and left behind plenty of damage in their wake. At exactly the time most of us were more worried about ice and snow. That said, we're entering the time of year when severe weather is more common in West Central Missouri, and Missouri's Emergency Management Agency wants you to be prepared.

According to Missouri's EMA, next week, March 7 through March 11, is Severe Weather Preparedness Week across the state. Next week the National Weather Service, Missouri's State Emergency Management Agency, and our local Emergency Management Agencies will all be working together to raise awareness about how Missourians can protect themselves against severe weather. Additionally, Missouri's state-wide Tornado Drill will be held Tuesday, March 8, at 10:00 AM CST.

In a press release State Emergency Management Agency Director Jim Remillard said, “Dangerous and sometimes deadly tornadoes, thunderstorms, and flooding can happen year-round. That’s why it’s incredibly important to have an emergency plan in place and talk to your family about when to take action before severe weather strikes your area.”

On Tuesday, March 8 at 10:00 AM CST, NOAA weather radios will alert for those who have it set to receive Routine Weekly Tests will receive notification that the state-wide tornado drill has begun. And Missouri's Emergency Management Agency encourages all local businesses and families to participate in the drill.

Missouri's EMA release also provides some basic tips on how to stay safe when severe weather hits including:

  • Having multiple ways to receive weather forecasts and weather warnings.
  • Have a family emergency plan, and make sure all family members are aware of it. Also, make sure to include pets in the plan.
  • Know the difference between a Tornado Watch, and a Tornado Warning. BTW, a Tornado Watch means tornados are possible in the warned area. A Tornado Warning indicates you should seek shelter immediately.
  • The best place to be in a tornado is in the basement, or on the lowest level of your home in an interior room away from windows.
  • If you can hear thunder, you can be struck by lightning.
  • The best place to be during high winds or hail is indoors.
  • Never drive into standing water.

For more on Severe Weather Preparedness Week check out the Missouri Emergency Management Agency website.

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