ST. LOUIS — As part of Severe Weather Preparedness Week, both Missouri and Illinois will hold their annual tornado drills today. You should have heard a siren or watched an alert on television at 10 a.m. It’s a good time to pause and think about what you would do if faced with an actual tornado warning.
The City of St. Louis tests its sirens on the first Monday of the month at 11 a.m. There is an election in the city today, so the sirens did not sound there.
Missouri is located in an area of the United States which is prone to tornadoes. There are an average of around 30 tornadoes per year, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Tornado drills are conducted in Missouri to help prepare individuals, schools, and communities for the possibility of a tornado strike. These drills provide an opportunity to practice what to do in case of a tornado, which can help save lives during an actual tornado event.
What is the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning? A tornado watch and warning are both issued by the National Weather Service (NWS) to alert the public to the possibility of tornadoes, but they have different meanings:
- Tornado Watch: A tornado watch means that weather conditions are favorable for the development of tornadoes. During a watch, you should stay alert to weather conditions and be prepared to take action if necessary. This means you should keep an eye on the sky, listen to the radio or television for updates, and have a plan in place for what you would do if a tornado were to strike.
- Tornado Warning: A tornado warning means that a tornado has been spotted by a trained weather spotter or indicated by radar. This is a more urgent warning, and you should take immediate action to protect yourself. This means seeking shelter immediately in a sturdy building, preferably in a basement or an interior room on the lowest level away from windows, and staying there until the warning has expired.