The National Weather Service, the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) and Missouri’s local emergency management offices urge Missourians to use Missouri Severe Weather Awareness Week, March 4-8, as an opportunity to plan and prepare for how they will react and shelter in response to severe weather.

“Severe Weather Awareness Week is a perfect opportunity for schools, families and businesses to revisit what they will do if severe weather hits while at school, home or work,” said SEMA Director Donald L. King. “As we all know, tornadoes are a common threat across Missouri, and advance planning and preparation for what you will do when a warning is issued are essential to reacting quickly and sheltering properly.”

During Severe Weather Week, each day focuses on a different aspect. Monday was Preparedness Day. Tuesday was Tornado Safety Day. Today is Flash Flood Safety Day. Thursday is Severe Thunderstorm Day and Friday is NOAA Weather Radio Day.

On Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. Missourians were encouraged to practice their tornado safety during the 39th annual Missouri statewide tornado drill.

The Missouri Department of Public Safety offers the following tornado safety tips:

Tornado watch means watch the sky. A tornado may form during a thunderstorm.

Tornado warning means seek shelter immediately.

An interior room without windows on the lowest floor is the safest shelter location.

Do not seek shelter in a cafeteria, gymnasium or other large open room because the roof might collapse.

Immediately leave a mobile home to seek shelter in a nearby building.

Overpasses are not safe. An overpass’ under-the-girder-type construction can cause a dangerous wind tunnel effect.

If you are driving, you should stop and take shelter in a nearby building.

If you are driving in a rural area, seek shelter in a roadside ditch. Protect yourself from flying debris by covering your head with your arms, a coat or a blanket.

Be prepared to move quickly in case the ditch fills with water.