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The National Weather Service Holds Severe Weather Awareness Week


Spring is just around the corner and with it comes flowers, warmer weather and severe weather. The National Weather Service is dedicating this week to preparing for the upcoming severe weather season. Part of that involved a state wide tornado drill today. KSMU's Kristian Kriner reports.

That was the sound at the National Weather Service office in Springfield, when the Weather service issued a test tornado warning.

For 34 years, the National Weather Service has set aside a week in March for Missouri Severe Weather Awareness Week.

During the Severe Weather Awareness Week, Meteorologists go to the surrounding schools and businesses to help students and employees prepare for the possibility of severe weather.

Steve Runnels is the Warning Coordination Meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Springfield. He says the best way to prepare for severe weather is to have a plan.

"There are several things the National weather Service and emergency Management partners suggest. Perhaps the first one is to have a plan. Know what to do in case a watch is being issued for your area. Know where to go if a warning is issued. Talk it over with your family members. If you work in a school or factory, a hospital, make sure the plan is in place there and you understand the plan. If you are going to be venturing out to a retailer make sure that retailer has got a designated shelter area. Ultimately, know in advance what you are going to do,"

Runnels said.

Runnels says on average the area sees about 30 tornadoes a year, but the past two years have been above normal.

He says this year the National Weather Service is expecting a busy spring.

"It is looking like a very busy spring across the Ozarks and of course that is nothing new. We are expected to see a far number of tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, floods, but it is looking to be just a little bit more active than normal and we are glad that people are prepared for it," Runnels said.

Runnels says the state wide tornado drill helps determine if the equipment and sirens are working properly.

He says the purpose for Severe Weather Awareness Week and the tornado drill is to get people to think about severe weather.

Runnels says he hopes the drill will help people create a plan and allow them to test it, so they will be prepared when a tornado actually happens.

For KSMU News, I'm Kristian Kriner.