Expect statewide tornado drill Wednesday

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 4, 2014

As a part of North Carolina’s Severe Weather Awareness Week, Wednesday at 9:30 a.m., the National Weather Service, in cooperation with local broadcasters, will conduct the annual statewide tornado drill in the form of a Required Monthly Test on all NOAA weather radio and public alert systems.
The alarm test will activate the State Emergency Alert System and be carried by local radio broadcasters. This will allow schools, business and residents the opportunity to practice their tornado drills and safety plans. Every school, business, work place and family across the state is strongly encouraged to participate in the statewide tornado drill.
Here are a couple key things to remember about tomorrow’s statewide tornado drill:
• The drill will be broadcast on NOAA Weather Radio and the Emergency Alert System via the Required Monthly Test (RMT). There will not be an actual tornado warning issued.
• In Rowan County, and in cooperation with the majority of the county’s fire departments, the local tornado warning siren system will sound at 9:30 as a test. The sirens will sound for their standard 3-minute, continuous high pitch warning tone.
• This drill and RMT will take the place of the usual weekly NOAA Weather Radio Alert test (RWT).
Most NOAA Weather Radio receivers do not sound an audible alert for the RMT product, but instead, may have a blinking light on the display to indicate that an RMT was received. As such, when the RMT for the statewide tornado drill is initiated at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning, there is a good chance that your NOAA Weather Radio will not sound an alarm.
Since your NOAA Weather Radio may not sound an alarm at the time the RMT is issued, you will want to do one of the following:
• Simply plan to start your tornado drill on your own at 9:30 a.m.; or,
• You can manually turn on your NOAA Weather Radio receiver and simply listen to the audio broadcast to hear when the RMT is issued, which will mark the beginning of the statewide tornado drill.
There will be no follow-up statements issued by the National Weather Service to mark the end of the statewide tornado drill. It will simply be over when your group, school, business, organization or family feels that you have adequately practiced your tornado shelter procedures.