The long blizzard-filled winter is finally over but with the arrival of spring comes the chance for other nasty weather events, like tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and flooding. Jeff Johnson, the warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service, says this is Severe Weather Awareness Week in Iowa.
It’s an annual event to remind Iowans that we get a lot of severe weather in the spring and summer months, and now is a good time to refresh our memories on what to do in the event severe weather strikes. Johnson says Iowans should plan out where they and their family members will go for shelter during severe weather.
He says everybody in Iowa should have a plan on where to go in their home, school or business, as well as a method of receiving severe weather information. Johnson says radio and television stations are where most people get their vital severe weather updates. Other options include weather radios, sirens for people who are outdoors, and for people who carry cell phones, there’s text messaging and warnings that can be sent directly to your handheld device.
While tornadoes killed 13 Iowans in 2008, most people don’t realize that the number-one cause of death due to severe weather is flash flooding. He says the easiest way to get killed in a flash flood is to drive into an area that is flooding and your car will get swept away by the flood waters.
Johnson says the motto people should follow is: “Turn around, don’t drown” — which means if water is flowing over the road in front of you, turn around and take a different route. For more about severe weather awareness week in Iowa, visit: “www.weather.gov/desmoines“.
By Bob Fisher, KRIB, Mason City