Statewide tornado drill to take place in Florida Feb. 3

Families, schools encouraged to participate

DeLand homes damaged after possible tornado

ORLANDO, Fla.- – Tornadoes can occur at any time, any place or any day. This was on full display Tuesday in Alabama and again Wednesday in North Florida. It’s always good to have a plan in place since tornadoes don’t look at the clock or calendar before developing.

It is especially important as we head into the spring severe weather season, the time when it is most likely for these storms to occur.

Wednesday will be the perfect time for you and your family to practice your severe weather plan. At approximately 10 a.m. Feb. 3, all National Weather Service offices serving Florida will issue a practice tornado warning. The warning will be transmitted by way of NOAA weather radio.

The practice tornado warning will be canceled at 10:30 a.m.

If severe weather threatens Florida Wednesday, the test will be moved to Feb. 5.

School districts, private schools, pre-schools and daycare centers are urged to participate in Wednesday’s drill by enacting their severe weather plan. It is a good idea to create or review a severe weather action plan at home with your family as well.

This test is part of severe weather awareness week across the Sunshine State.

Tips for an at-home severe weather plan

Practice and review these during Wednesday’s test.

  • As a family, come up with a safe meeting place to go to in the event a tornado warning is issued. Pick a place on the lowest floor in the inner-most room away from windows. If you live in a mobile home, have a safe location you can quickly evacuate to. Have a plan on how to get your pets to the safe area as well.
What to do if a tornado warning is issued.
  • It is a good idea to have blankets or a bike helmet available to cover your head. Having shoes on is also good in case of debris after the storm. Don’t waste time getting these items if they aren’t readily available. Get to your safe place! If you know severe weather is possible, have these items close.
  • Practice covering your head. If a bathroom is your safe place, practice getting in the tub and covering your head with a blanket.
  • Make/replenish a severe weather kit that includes a flashlight and batteries. During the pandemic, having masks available is also important.
  • Have a way to get weather alerts! The Pinpoint Weather app is a great tool to get alerts to your phone. A NOAA weather radio is also a must-have. A battery-operated cell phone charger is a way to ensure you can get updates on your phone if the power goes out.
  • Know the difference between a watch and a warning...
The differences between a tornado watch and tornado warning

When a watch is in effect, it is a good time to prepare, know where your pets are, get things to cover your head with, have your shoes ready and of course stay weather aware.

If a warning is issued, it is time to put your severe weather plan into action and get to safety! Tornado watches aren’t always in effect before warnings are issued, which is why it is good to always be prepared.

About the Author:

Jonathan Kegges joined the News 6 team in June 2019 as the Weekend Morning Meteorologist. Jonathan comes from Roanoke, Virginia where he covered three EF-3 tornadoes and deadly flooding brought on by Hurricanes Florence and Michael.