It’s Severe Weather Awareness Week in Iowa

JOHNSTON — This is Severe Weather Awareness Week as Iowans are reminded about some of the risks we may see during springtime, including thunderstorms, floods and tornadoes.

National Weather Service meteorologist Chad Hahn says it’s the ideal time for a refresher.  “This is the climatological time of year that we average, and of course it varies from year to year, but on average, this is when we start to transition out of the winter season,” Hahn says, “and then start to anticipate and look ahead to the severe weather season and thunderstorm season and all the hazards that come along with that.”

Anyone who’s recently moved to the state may not know how to react when the sirens sound and warn of an approaching tornado. “We’ll talk about tornado safety,” Hahn says. “We’re going to talk about and share on our social media the proper things to do when tornadoes threaten your area. You know to get into the basement as your number-one location. If you don’t have a basement, then of course an interior room without windows is the best spot.”

A statewide tornado drill is planned for Wednesday at 10:00 AM as Iowans are urged to think about where they’d go at that moment, should a tornado warning be issued. Hahn says Iowa averages about 50 tornadoes a year, but last year, we had almost 70.  “We’re comparing a lot of apples to oranges to some degree, because the way that we detect and are able to identify tornadoes is different than it was 30 years ago,” Hahn says, “because we have the advancements in technologies both on the radar scale but also on satellite, and we’re able to detect tornadoes a lot better after the fact today.”

Other days during the week will include information about hail and wind safety, as well as lightning, thunderstorms and flooding. For more about Severe Weather Awareness Week, click here.