Severe Weather Awareness Week: Tornado Drill Wednesday

Northwest Iowa — This is Severe Weather Awareness Week in Iowa and the National Weather Service and Iowa Emergency Management are teaming up to help remind and educate the public on severe weather and what to do if it becomes an issue.

Each weekday this week, they are highlighting a different severe weather topic. Monday’s topic was lightning safety. This Tuesday, the topic is torndao safety. The weather service says a tornado is simply a violently rotating column of air that’s in contact with the ground.

National Weather Service Warning Coordination Meteorologist Peter Rogers at the Sioux Falls Forecast Office says the main thing to keep in mind is what to do when a tornado threatens.

Of course, we encourage you to listen to our wall-to-wall coverage on KIWA-FM when severe weather threatens. But Rogers says knowing there’s a tornado is only step one of the process.

Rogers says we often fall into the trap of thinking only about colored boxes on the screen, and therefore treat all tornado warnings the same. But the weather service reminds you to LISTEN to the entire warning so you know what to expect, as a tornado warning is issued for everything from minor tornadoes all the way up to the largest, multiple vortex tornadoes.

Officials also remind you that not all tornadoes happen when you’re at home, so they say you should practice other scenarios as well, such as what you would do if there’s a tornado while you’re at work, school, daycare, the ballfield, or even in your vehicle.

Also, the National Weather Service is planning to conduct a Tornado Drill this Wednesday, March 27th, weather permitting, at 10:00 a.m. through NOAA All-Hazards Weather Radio. Many communities will also sound their warning sirens. While it is a tornado drill, weather service officials tell us they will not be sending out the live tornado warning code. So some equipment that is normally set off automatically in a tornado warning may have to be set off manually in this case. They remind you not to ignore the drill, but use it as a chance to practice your severe weather plans.



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