JOHNSTON — With more than half the state under a disaster declaration due to flooding, many Iowans don’t need a reminder about how wicked Mother Nature can be. Still, residents who could use a refresher course on the dangers of springtime in Iowa should take note this is Severe Weather Awareness Week.
Meteorologist Brooke Hagenhoff at the National Weather Service office in metro Des Moines says a different topic is covered daily. “Anything from severe thunderstorms to understanding where to get warning information, family preparedness, flooding, tornado safety,” Hagenhoff says. “It’s just to get people thinking about springtime weather, since it is coming our way, making sure people have plans in place.”
Last year, 69 tornadoes touched down in Iowa, with one day standing apart. “Definitely that July 19th event is the one that sticks out,” she says. “That’s the day we had the most tornadoes in one day. Twenty-one of our tornadoes from last season were all in that July 19th event. Certainly, the memorable tornadoes were through the Pella, Marshalltown and Bondurant areas.”
As part of this week’s educational events, Hagenhoff says a statewide tornado drill is set for Wednesday morning. “We’ll have a test tornado watch that will go out at 10 AM and then at 10:15, we will issue a test tornado warning,” Hagenhoff says. “We recommend people take it seriously and act as they would for a normal tornado warning, taking the appropriate actions so that we can practice our severe weather protocols.”
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