Missouri will hold a tornado drill next week, officials said.

Missouri’s State Emergency Management Agency has launched new videos demonstrating tornado sheltering in schools, houses and mobile homes in preparation for severe weather season and the March 13 statewide tornado drill. The brief videos –– available at www.mo.gov –– show how to prepare for and take cover in a variety of scenarios.

“Severe weather can strike at any time, making it crucial for Missourians to be aware of their sheltering options in various locations,” said State Emergency Management Agency Director Paul D. Parmenter. “We hope that these videos will help schools, businesses and families prepare for severe weather by taking the proper steps well in advance of a severe weather warning.”

The National Weather Service, SEMA and local emergency management offices across Missouri will conduct the 38th annual state tornado drill at 1:30 p.m. March 13 as part of Missouri Severe Weather Awareness Week, which runs from March 12-16. If there is a threat of severe weather in any part of Missouri on March 13, the drill will be postponed until Thursday, March 15.

“In the past year, including last week, Missouri communities have experienced the devastation that tornadoes can cause,” said Parmenter. “The statewide tornado drill is an excellent opportunity for all of us to practice seeking shelter in case of a severe weather emergency.”

According to the National Weather Service, 2011 was the fourth deadliest tornado year in U.S. history. The May 22 Joplin tornado, which damaged or destroyed more than 8,000 homes and businesses and was responsible for 161 deaths, was the deadliest tornado on record since modern recordkeeping began in 1950.

The entire drill can be completed in 15 minutes. Once Missourians hear broadcast drill messages or outdoor warning sirens, they should practice taking shelter. The safest shelter location is an interior room without windows in the lowest level of a building. Other safe locations for businesses and schools include hallways, underneath staircases and designated tornado safe rooms. The drill is complete once everyone is accounted for in the designated shelters.

Persons are invited to remember:

––Tornado watch means watch the sky. A tornado may form during a thunderstorm.

––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 other large open room because of the potential for a roof 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 and no shelter is available, 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.

FEMA shelters are situated at Licking and Houston.

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