Statewide tornado drill scheduled for March 6 during FOX4’s ‘Wicked Weather Week’

LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo. — Spring is still a few weeks away, and with it comes the increased chances of severe weather.

FOX4 and the National Weather Service want you to be prepared. FOX4’s Wicked Weather Week coincides with the National Weather Service in Pleasant Hill’s ‘Severe Weather Awareness Week’ from March 4 through March 10.

Look for the following stories on FOX4 News at 5 and 9 p.m:

Monday, March 5: ‘Are You Ready?’ FOX4’s Dave D’Marko revisits the Oak Grove tornado that hit the town on March 6, 2017. Five hundred homes were damaged or destroyed. We hear from one family who made it to safety just moments before their home was blown off its foundation. They now know the importance of having a safety plan for the family. Watch the full story here.

Tuesday, March 6:  At 10:00 a.m. on this day, the State Emergency Management Agency and the National Weather Service in Pleasant Hill will conduct a statewide tornado drill. FOX4 meteorologist Karli Ritter reports on tornadoes and straight-line winds. Both are dangerous and potentially devastating, but they have different characteristics. Watch the full story here.

Wednesday, March 7: According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, hail causes one billion dollars in damage to crops and property each year. FOX4 meteorologist Michelle Bogowith will have a special report on area hailstorms; one of the costliest was in 2001 that brought stones ranging in size from one to three inches. Watch the full story here.

Thursday, March 8: FOX4’s Joe Lauria has the ‘lightning’ assignment. Lightning is both beautiful and terrifying in its power. What happens when a person is struck by lightning? Watch the full story here.

Friday, March 9: FOX4 chief meteorologist Mike Thompson looks at the new tools and technology we’re using to predict severe weather and help keep our viewers safe.

As we head into Severe Weather Season, be sure to download FOX 4’s news and weather apps and sign up to get breaking news alerts: iPhone fox4kc weather app  |  Android fox4kc weather app  |  iPhone fox4kc news app|  Android fox4kc news app

Keep this link handy for severe weather closings.

Again, be prepared and not alarmed for the statewide tornado drill at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, March 6. In the event of severe weather conditions on the day of the exercise, the make-up date will be at the same time on Thursday, March 8, if weather permits.

The National Weather Service in Pleasant Hill encourages all schools, businesses and residents to participate in the exercise by practicing their severe weather and shelter procedures. The safest shelter location is in the lowest level of the building in an interior room without windows. Other school or business safe locations are basements, hallways without windows, under staircases and designated tornado safe rooms. Once everyone is accounted for, the drill is over.

Other reminders from the NWS:

Have several forms of severe weather notification: Do not depend solely on one method of notification. Commercial media and internet services provide information when you are awake, but do little when you are asleep. Outdoor warning sirens were designed to warn people outdoors and were not intended to be heard indoors. NOAA All-Hazard Weather Radios provide 24 hour a day notification of severe weather at home and at work. All-Hazard radios are programmable to the county that you live in, to alert you day or night when severe weather is in your area. Many of these devices have back-up battery power and will function during power outages.

In homes or small buildings: Go to the basement (if available) or to an interior room on the lowest floor, such as a closet or bathroom. Upper floors are unsafe. If there is no time to descend, go to a closet, a small room with strong walls, or an inside hallway. Wrap yourself in overcoats or blankets to protect yourself from flying debris.

In schools, hospitals, factories, or shopping centers: Go to interior rooms and halls on the lowest floor. Stay away from rooms with windows and areas with wide-span roofs such as auditoriums and warehouses. Crouch down and cover your head. Don’t take shelter in halls that open to the south or the west. Centrally-located stairwells are good shelter.

In high-rise buildings: Go to interior small rooms or halls. Stay away from exterior walls or windows.

In mobile homes: Abandon them immediately!  Most deaths occur in cars and mobile homes. If you are in either of those locations, leave them and go to a substantial structure or designated tornado shelter.

In vehicles: If possible, drive away!  If not, get into a sturdy shelter (building).  As a last resort, you need to make a personal decision whether to ride it out in your car hunched down below the windows with your SEATBELT ON, or to lie flat in the nearest ditch or depression with your hands covering your head.

If no suitable structure is nearby: Lie flat in the nearest ditch or depression and use your hands to cover your head, or remain in your vehicle with your seat belt fastened, crouching down below the window. These options should be considered only as a last resort.

During a tornado:  Absolutely avoid buildings with large free-span roofs. Stay away from west and south walls.  Remember, seek shelter on the lowest level, go to the smallest room, and center part of the building.

Additional links for more information on how to prepare for severe weather and weather safety tips: