JOPLIN, Mo. — On Tuesday, March 7, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. State Emergency Management and the National Weather Service will conduct a Statewide Severe Weather Tornado Drill. 

Every school, citizen, and business is encouraged to participate in the drill. 

Residents should treat the drill as if it were an actual tornado warning. The purpose of the drill is to test everyone’s readiness for life-threatening severe weather events such as tornadoes, flash floods, and damaging winds. Local officials are encouraged to sound warning sirens to initiate the drill.

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The National Weather Service will issue a Routine Weekly Test (RWT) to NOAA Weather Radios to initiate the drill. In Missouri, this is a change from past years in which a true Tornado Warning was issued.

This tornado drill will be observed by the City of Joplin by sounding the warning sirens for a full three minutes, the same amount that would occur in an actual warning.

As this drill kicks off the 2023 Severe Weather Preparedness Week, observed from March 6-10, David Holden, Emergency Management Director, encourages everyone to be proactive and prepare for weather safety. Preparing today may make the difference in surviving the storms to come this spring. He also encourages people to seek appropriate notification systems and reminds the public about the warning sirens’ purpose.

“The sirens provide a warning for anyone who is out of doors to go indoors, if possible, and take shelter,” he said. “People indoors cannot always expect to hear the outdoor warning sirens.”

Holden encourages residents to utilize an NOAA Weather Radio that provides a warning signal when the area is under a watch or a warning. In addition, local news stations also offer weather watch apps for cell phones that residents can download.

“The advantage of having a weather radio is that you hear the alerts directly from the National Weather Service, and are kept current of the warning status. The phone apps also provide notifications and current information that is helpful during severe weather.”