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Make Plans Now to Participate in Feb. 8 Tornado Drill

Published on Feb 2, 2023

BARTOW, Fla. (February 2, 2023) – Polk County’s Emergency Management Division is encouraging residents to participate in a statewide tornado drill that will take place at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 8. The drill is being coordinated by the National Weather Service.

If actual severe weather is forecast for Feb.8, the drill will be postponed until Friday, Feb. 10.

On the morning of the drill, Florida residents should consider themselves under a Tornado Watch. A Tornado Watch means you should monitor the weather and be prepared to go to a safe place in the event of a Warning. At approximately 10 a.m. EST, the National Weather Service will issue a practice Tornado Warning. The Warning will be broadcast on NOAA Alert Radio as a weekly test message.

The Warning will be broadcast on NOAA Weather Radio only. It will not be broadcast over “regular” radio or television. Residents should practice their severe weather plan at 10 a.m. even if they do not have access to the test message.

“This is good practice for the real thing,” said Paul Womble, director of Polk County’s Emergency Management Division. “Polk County residents should use this opportunity to work on their severe weather plans. When an actual tornado hits, being prepared may be what keeps your family safe.”

School districts, private schools, preschools and daycare centers are encouraged to participate in the drill. In the days leading up to the drill, there are some things everyone can do:

On the day of the drill, participants should:

  • Consider a Tornado Watch to be in effect starting at about 8 a.m.
  • Announce watch to staff and/or students
  • Designate authority (coordinator)
  • Evacuate tornado vulnerable areas
  • Receive the test message at about 10 a.m.
  • Upon determination of an immediate threat, give “take shelter” or “duck and cover” command (depending on space available at location)
  • At about 10:30 a.m., give instructions to return to normal activities. (You will not receive a notification. Terminate the drill as you see fit.)

After the drill, assess your plan and revise it as needed. If you need help creating a severe weather plan, visit Polk County Emergency Management’s website at

The Tornado Drill is held during Severe Weather Awareness Week (Feb. 6 – 10). For more information on severe weather, go to Polk County Emergency Management’s social media feed: