Tornado warning EAS code approved for use in Illinois during annual statewide tornado exercise

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has granted a one-time waiver of their Emergency Alert System (EAS) rules for the use a “live” Tornado Warning (EAS code TOR) during the annual statewide tornado exercise in Illinois on Tuesday.

March 6, 2012 at 10:00 am CST.

The National Weather Service (NWS) offices that serve the state of Illinois will create the “test” Tornado Warning for this important annual exercise. The message will be disseminated with the “TOR” EAS code through the NOAA

Weather Radio network across Illinois for input into the EAS equipment at broadcast outlets throughout the state. The waiver issued by the FCC means that all EAS participants in Illinois can broadcast the “live” Tornado Warning for the

March 6th exercise without restriction or reprisal by the FCC. If actual severe weather is imminent or occurring at the time of the test, the exercise will be postponed until the next day, Wednesday March 7, 2012 at 10:00 am CST.

“It is of utmost importance to use the ‘live’ Tornado Warning EAS code through NOAA Weather Radio – and ultimately EAS participants statewide – for this annual exercise” said Chris Miller, Warning Coordination Meteorologist with

the NWS in Lincoln, Illinois. “This annual exercise is conducted by schools, businesses, law enforcement agencies, emergency managers, and the public to prepare for the severe thunderstorm and tornado season in Illinois. A main

component of this exercise is the ability to test weather alert radios, law enforcement communications networks, and the EAS equipment of Illinois broadcasters with a ‘live’ Tornado Warning code” said Miller.

The ‘live’ Tornado Warning for this exercise will contain very precise language in several places throughout the message, as well as the audio portion of the broadcast, which clearly indicates it is a test, to avoid confusion amongst

broadcasters or the general public, Miller said. This test, which takes place on the first Tuesday of March at 10:00 am CST every year in Illinois, is done in conjunction with Severe Weather Preparedness Week and the monthly outdoor

warning siren test which is done in many communities.

For more information contact a NWS Warning Coordination Meteorologist in the following locations:

Northern IL (Rockford, Chicago Metro, LaSalle)

Jim Allsopp, 815-834-0600

Central & Eastern IL (Peoria, Springfield, Champaign)

Chris Miller, 217-732-4029

Northwest IL (Quad Cities, Macomb, Freeport)

Donna Dubberke, 563-391-6729

Southwest IL (St. Louis Metro East, Quincy, Vandalia)

Jim Kramper, 636-447-1876

Southern IL (Carbondale, Mount Vernon)

Rick Shanklin, 270-744-6440