KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Don’t panic when you hear tornado sirens at 10 a.m. Tuesday across the Kansas City metro area, but think about what you would do in the event of severe weather.
Despite dreary skies, no severe weather is expected Tuesday or this week, but state emergency managers in concert with the National Weather Service will hold statewide tornado drills.
The drill is being held as part of Severe Weather Preparedness Week. The NWS wants everyone to be aware of the dangers posed by tornadoes, lighting, wind & hail, and flooding.
On average, 1,200 tornadoes form annually in the United States.
The NWS will activate local warning sirens and NOAA weather radios at the start of the drill. Everyone, including schools and businesses, is encouraged to participate.
Keep the following in mind while developing a plan in the event of an emergency:
Watch vs. Warning
A Tornado Watch is issued when weather conditions exist that could lead to a tornado, and the possibility should kick a severe weather plan into gear. You can think of it as having all the ingredients needed for a recipe, but the meal hasn’t been put together.
A Tornado Warning is issued when a tornado has been spotted or indicated on radar, leading you to seek shelter immediately. Move to the lowest floor of an interior room, avoiding windows. If you’re in a mobile home, vehicle or outdoors, seek the nearest sturdy shelter. FOX4 meteorologists go on air when a warning is issued and stay on until the danger has passed.
Preparing for a tornado
Watch the latest forecasts on Weather Aware days or listen to a weather radio to keep up with the latest watches and warnings. You can sign up for community alerts through services like Nixle or your cell phone provider. You may also hear a tornado siren if you’re outdoors. Sirens are intended to alert people to head inside, so you may not hear one if you’re already indoors.
The NWS encourages your family to develop a communications plan and know where to go in your house in the event of an emergency. In addition to putting a plan together, you should practice it during calm conditions.
FEMA also suggests you reinforce any safe room in your house.
During a tornado
Head to a basement, safe room or interior room away from windows. If you’re at work or at school, follow a designated plan, avoid large open rooms like cafeterias, auditoriums or gyms.
If you’re outside, seek shelter in a sturdy building. Sheds, storage facilities, mobile homes and tents aren’t recommended for safe cover.
If you’re driving, staying in a vehicle isn’t safe. Either drive to the nearest shelter, abandon your car and take cover in a ditch or ravine, or get down and cover your head as a last resort.