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Missouri, Kansas hosting tornado drills today for Severe Weather Awareness Week

Leaders say to prepare as if threat were real
ClayCO tornado 2019.jpeg
Posted at 6:58 AM, Mar 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-03 07:58:00-05

EXCELSIOR SPRINGS, Mo. — At first, Joel Glaspy thought the tornado warning was over. Then his wife got an alert on her phone saying the tornado had touched down again near their Excelsior Springs, Missouri, home.

"It was so loud, just so unbelievably loud. Just like what all those people on TV say, it was a train, it was like you're standing next to a train and you could just hear it,” Glaspy said.

It was May 28, 2019, and the father of five rounded up his children and headed for the basement.

Glaspy has lived his whole life in tornado country and knew he needed to be in a shelter.

This week, emergency managers across the country hope others learn to prepare like Glaspy. It is Severe Weather Awareness Week.

At 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Missouri and Kansas will each hold statewide tornado drills where they will activate tornado sirens and encourage people to run through their tornado plan as if the threat were real.

Here’s how leaders say you should prepare:

  • Find the best place to use as a shelter in your home. The Lee’s Summit Fire Department says a basement is best. If you don’t have one, consider going under a staircase or to a hallway without windows. Some groups suggest sheltering in the restroom.
  • Sign up for weather alerts on your cellphone. Several apps and websites will send you notifications when a tornado is possible. Some cities use Nixle. Johnson County, Kansas, uses a service called Notify JoCo.
  • Pack a kit for your shelter that includes batteries, snacks, water, flashlights, blankets and other essentials. It’s impossible to predict how long you’ll be in your shelter.
  • Consider buying a weather radio.

"They pop up whenever and wherever they want to, so the more we're prepared, that's a little extra time we have,” Glaspy said.

In 2019, three people died in tornadoes in Missouri. No one died in Kansas because of a tornado, according to the National Weather Service.