LAKE MARY, Fla. – Heads up! The National Weather Service will issue a Tornado Warning in Florida that will sound off an alarm Wednesday morning, but don’t worry – officials said it’s just a test.
The practice Tornado Warning alert will go off across most of Florida at 10 a.m. ET and at 9 a.m. CT in the Florida Panhandle. Officials said the warning will broadcast on the NOAA Alert Radio as a “routine weekly test” message.
The drill is part of the state’s Severe Weather Awareness Week. Though Wednesday’s event is only a drill, it’s important for families to have a real plan in place.
If severe weather were to present imminent danger, Florida residents should listen out for the Watch and Warning messages to determine the threat in their area and decide what actions to take to keep themselves safe.
Know the difference between Tornado Watch, Tornado Warning
Watches and warnings are different levels of weather alerts.
If a Tornado Watch is issued, it means that you should prepare for tornadic weather. Pay close attention to the forecast.
If a Tornado Warning is issued, it means a tornado is imminent or happening now, and you should take action. In the case of tornadoes, it means you should immediately take shelter in your safe place.
Find your safe place
Before a storm strikes, you should determine the safest place to be in your home in the event of a tornado.
This would be a place on the lowest level, in the center of the floor and away from windows. You want to put as many walls between you and the tornado as possible. An interior closet or hall is best.
If you live in a mobile home, you should leave well in advance and find a more sturdy building for shelter. If no shelter is nearby, the safest place to be is in a ditch or culvert.
Don’t forget to cover your head. Something like a helmet is best, but anything that can be used to protect your head from flying debris will work.
Check your emergency supplies
In the event of a tornado outbreak, you could lose power or water or both for several days.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends keeping at least a three-day supply of food and water on hand in the event of an emergency.
Your emergency supplies should also include a first aid kit, flashlights, batteries and a whistle to signal for help.
Keep important documents safe
Make sure important documents are kept in a fire-proof and waterproof safe. These documents include birth certificates, titles, Social Security cards and insurance documents.
Bring things that can get blown around inside
Whenever high winds happen, things like patio furniture and umbrellas, garbage cans and lawn decorations can become projectiles. It’s best to bring those kinds of objects inside until storms pass.
FOX Weather contributed to this article.