Area residents who attended this week’s Region 5/6 Emergency Management 2018 Severe Weather Awareness Expo will get a chance to continue their severe weather preparedness practice during the upcoming Nebraska Severe Weather Awareness week from March 26-30.
The National Weather Service (NWS) along with Nebraska Emergency Management and the Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Division have declared March 26 through March 30 as Severe Weather Awareness Week.
For the weeklong event the NWS will be sending out information about different severe weather topics on social media and through public information statements including information on tornados, severe storms, flash flooding, and weather radio.
NWS is also conducting a test tornado drill across the state at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, March 28.
According to information released by NWS, if there is a chance for severe weather on March 28, the test tornado drill will be moved to the 29th or 30th.
“During the drill there will be a test tornado warning issued, and some counties and communities have opted to sound their local warning sirens for the event. We encourage businesses and schools to either go to their shelter for the drill or at least talk about where they would go if there was actually a tornado warning,” NWS Meteorologist Brian Smith said.
For the drill the Storm Prediction Center will issue a Test Tornado Watch for all counties in Iowa and Nebraska at 10 a.m. The test message will be tone alerted and sent through the Emergency Alert System and the watch will be valid for one hour.
At 10:15 a.m. Weather Forecast Offices that serve both states will issue Test Tornado Warnings for their counties that will be valid for 20 minutes. This is the time that counties may be sounding sirens, and will be sent using TOR EAS code.
“The TOR EAS code is the actual event code that will go across weather radio, we get a waiver from the FCC to do that every year so it simulates the real event,” Smith said.
Each county will cancel their Test Tornado Warning at 10:35 a.m. and the Test Tornado Watch for all of the state will expire at 11 a.m.
According to information released by NWS, the test will not be activating the Wireless Emergency Alert messaging system on cell phones.
For more information on Severe Weather Awareness Week, people are encouraged to visit https://www.weather.gov/oax/SevereWeatherPreparedness2018.