Tornado warning systems to be tested April 12

A statewide tornado drill will be conducted by the National Weather Service and emergency officials around 10:30 a.m. MDT on Wednesday, April 12. The exercise is used to ensure warning systems are working properly, train emergency service organizations, and educate people how to respond to a tornado warning. Communities may sound local warning sirens and many schools will conduct safety drills for their students.

The drill will also include a test of the Emergency Alert System, which will interrupt local media broadcasts. The public should be aware that the scroll on broadcast television and cable TV channels will look like a real warning, while the NOAA Weather Radio and broadcast audio will be identified as a test.

If an actual tornado warning was issued, it means a tornado has been sighted or indicated on radar and people should take shelter immediately. Tornado warnings are disseminated through NOAA weather radio, local television and radio stations, cable television systems, outdoor warning sirens and Wireless Emergency Alerts on cell phones.

People do not need to take any action during this exercise. However, they are encouraged to become familiar with safety rules and make plans to protect themselves and their families when storms develop. Information about storm safety is available from the Rapid City National Weather Service web site: www.weather.gov/rapidcity, county emergency management or homeland security offices, and the American Red Cross.