Dear News Editor:
The following news release describes the annual tornado drill to be conducted Wednesday, April 21 as part of South Dakota Severe Weather Preparedness Week, April 19-23. Could you publish this article in your print version and post on your web site prior to the test?
If you have any questions or would like to do an interview, please email me.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TORNADO WARNING SYSTEMS TO BE TESTED APRIL 21
A statewide tornado drill will be conducted for South Dakota by the National Weather Service between 9:00 and 9:30 am MDT (10:00 and 10:30 am CDT) on Wednesday, April 21. Because the exercise is used to ensure communications and warning systems are functioning properly before storm season, people will see and hear the actual alerts used for tornadoes.
Outdoor warning sirens will be sounded in many towns. The sirens may not be heard inside homes and office buildings, as they are intended to alert people who are outdoors away from radio or TV.
The drill will also include activation of the Emergency Alert System, which will interrupt local media broadcasts. The scroll on broadcast television and cable TV channels will look like a real warning, while the audio on NOAA Weather Radio and media will state the message is a test.
Many schools will conduct safety drills for their students and emergency response agencies may practice their response procedures.
Cell phone alerts and other electronic notification systems will not be involved in the test.
People do not need to take any action during the drill, but they are encouraged to make plans to protect themselves and their families before storms develop. Don’t wait until the storm is headed toward you as there won’t be time. Information about storm safety is available from county emergency management offices or visit the following web sites:
Rapid City National Weather Service: www.weather.gov/safety
American Red Cross: www.redcross.org
Federal Emergency Management Agency: http://www.ready.gov
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Susan Sanders Warning Coordination Meteorologist National Weather Service Rapid City, South Dakota 605-341-9271 weather.gov/unr