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Pinellas County: Duck, Cover and Take a Selfie

Tornado | Great Tornado Drill | El Nino

Pinellas County wants everyone to take part in the “Great Tornado Drill,” a joint drill with Hillsborough, Polk, Pasco, Manatee and Sarasota counties as well as Brevard, Indian River, Lake, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, and Volusia counties and the National Weather Service.

PINELLAS COUNTY – With El Niño threatening the Tampa Bay region with severe weather this winter and spring, Pinellas County is partnering with other central Florida counties and the National Weather Service (NWS) to prepare with the regional Great Tornado Drill.

Everyone is urged to participate.

Businesses, organizations, families and individuals are asked to first identify a shelter and their source of emergency alerts, such as messages received on a mobile phone, weather radio or other notification service. The alerts should be loud enough to wake a person up if a tornado were to hit in the middle of the night.

At 10 a.m. Wednesday (Jan. 6), the NWS will issue a test alert through the weather alert radios only, following a scenario that a tornado is in the area, and warning people to take shelter.

Regardless of whether the alert is heard at 10 a.m., participants should practice taking cover and then take a selfie of their group. By using the hashtag #PCtornadodrill and posting it on Pinellas County’s Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, participants will have a chance to win a NOAA weather alert radio, provided by the state of Florida.The test in Pinellas County will be over at 10:30 a.m.

This is a pilot program to encourage business leaders, faith-based organizations, non-profits, governmental agencies and individuals to identify how tornado alerts will be received at work or home, where safe rooms could be used as shelters during tornadoes, and how to move staff, customers or family into those areas in the safest manner possible.

To take part:

  1. Know how to receive severe weather warnings.
  2. At 10 a.m. Wednesday (Jan. 6), practice finding your shelter and take a selfie.
  3. Post the photo with hashtag #PCtornadodrill.

The best photo entries will win a NOAA Weather Radio. NOAA broadcasts continuous emergency weather information from offices around the country. When a warning is issued, these radios emit a loud tone that will awaken those near to take protective cover. This device is available at drug stores, home improvement stores and other large retailers.

The Great Tornado Drill is a joint effort of the National Weather Service and numerous Florida counties, including Pinellas, Hillsborough, Polk, Pasco, Manatee and Sarasota counties as well as Brevard, Indian River, Lake, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, and Volusia counties. Registration for the drill is not necessary.

For more information on emergency preparedness, go to pinellascounty.org.

Pinellas County can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Pinellas County | Great Tornado Drill | El Nino | Weather | TB Reporter

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