National Weather Service and Colorado Broadcasters Association - Statewide Tornado Drill - April 14, 2010

This year, Severe Weather Awareness Week will be observed in Colorado on April 11-17. The National Weather Service, in cooperation with the Colorado Broadcasters Association, will initiate a statewide tornado drill on Wednesday, April 14, between 9:00 a.m. and 11 a.m. using the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and NOAA weather radios. A TEST TORNADO WARNING will be issued by each area office of the National Weather Service including Boulder, Pueblo, Grand Junction and Goodland, KS.

This will be an excellent time for businesses, schools, hospitals, members of the media and emergency management agencies to participate in the drill and test their communications plans and procedures.  During the test times, or anytime during the week, everyone should review and exercise their family communication plans, emergency plans and check their emergency kits.  For more information on specific preparedness steps you can take in Colorado, check out the READYColorado site and, to put your prep in context, be sure to learn more about Colorado Tornado History.

According to the National Weather Service,44 tornados were reported to officials across the state, with nearly 700 reports of hail, severe wind and flash floods.  In 2008, a large and damaging tornado raced through Weld County and the Town of Windsor.  For thunderstorm hazards including tornadoes, flash floods, large hail and damaging winds, the National Weather Service offices will post warning information on their websites and alarm NOAA Weather All-Hazards Radios with new warnings.

The are over two dozen NOAA Weather Radio transmitters broadcasting weather forecast and warning information in Colorado.  In addition, warnings will be transmitted from Weather Radio via the Emergency Alert System to commercial radio, television and cable television.  The Colorado broadcasters have received a waiver from the FCC to participate in this exercise using the EAS and are urging all broadcast facilities to participate in this drill.

The National Weather Service has a website with a map showing all Colorado Watches, Warnings and Advisories and be sure to check out information for your area or where you might travel on the Colorado NOAA Weather Radios and Frequencies site.

Did you know that you can help, too?  To learn more about Colorado thunderstorms, tornadoes, watches and warnings, attend a National Weather Service Skywarn spotter training.  The schedules for the training are located on the National Weather Service websites for Northeast Colorado, Southeast Colorado and Western Colorado.

For NWS-related questions, contact Robert Glancy, WFO Denver Warning Coordination Meteorologist at  For Colorado Broadcasters Association questions and broadcaster participation, contact Marilyn Hogan, President and CEO of the Colorado Broadcasters Association at


Tornado Safety Tips
When a tornado watch is announced, it means conditions are present for a tornado. Keep a radio/TV tuned for further information, and gather emergency supplies. When a Tornado Warning is issued, it means a tornado has been sighted or is imminent. Take shelter immediately.

If you are at home:
  • Go to your basement. 
  • If you have no basement, go to an interior hallway or small interior room on the the lowest floor.
  • Avoid windows.
  • Do not remain in a trailer or mobile home if a tornado is approaching. Take cover elsewhere.

If you are at work:
  • Go to an interior hallway on the lowest floor, or a designated shelter.
  • Avoid windows.

If you are at school:
  • Follow instructions of authorities/teachers.
  • Stay out of structures with wide free-span roofs like auditoriums and gyms.
If you are in a car or outside:
  • Seek cover in a nearby building, or lie flat in a ditch or ravine.

Mitigation Tips for tornadoes
  • Colorado communities, and in particular eastern plains communities, must prepare and educate residents for the possibility of tornadoes - especially in May, June, and July.
  • Mobile home parks should require tie-downs and provide alternate shelter for residents.
  • Communities can purchase warning systems and individuals can purchase inexpensive tone-activated radios.
  • Construction restrictions should place an emphasis on designs that can withstand tornados and other high winds.