When it comes to weather in Missouri expect the unexpected! Spring is still a few weeks away, but severe weather can happen at any time – so be prepared. Severe Weather Awareness Week is set for March 4-10, 2018. This campaign is intended to increase public awareness about severe weather and tornadoes.

The Lee’s Summit Fire Department in conjunction with the State Emergency Management Agency and the National Weather Service in Pleasant Hill will conduct a statewide tornado drill on Tuesday, March 6, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. Locally the Lee’s Summit Fire Department will activate the outdoor storm warning sirens, announce the exercise over the Emergency Broadcast Radio System, and send a message to Nixle.com subscribers. The National Weather Service will also activate the NOAA All-Hazard Weather Radio. 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.

All schools, businesses and residents are encouraged 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.

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.

For more information on how to prepare for severe weather and weather safety tips go to http://www.nws.noaa.gov/os/tornado/; http://www.stormaware.mo.gov/, http://www.preparemetrokc.org/, or contact the Lee’s Summit Fire Department at (816) 969-1300.