It’s time to make sure the hatches can be battened down when the season comes. Donna Dubberke in the Quad Cities office of the National Weather Service says local weather stations in Iowa are holding severe-weather drills throughout this month. The forecaster recommends some bare-bones necessities for anyone, no matter where they live in Iowa. A battery-operated radio, a weather radio, flashlights and some fresh batteries so you’re not caught in the dark if you have to take shelter. While some of the advice has changed over the years, Dubberke says it’s always a good idea to hold family drills and choose a safe place to retreat during a bad storm. She says at home, a safe place is always in the basement, or the lowest floor if you don’t have a basement. While they used to recommend the southwest corner, that’s not always the case, but you’re best off under stairs or a sturdy workbench anywhere you’re protected from debris falling on you. Outdoors, if you can’t make it to safety, she says the best advice is to get out of your car, go into the ditch and cover your head. You don’t want to try and outrun the storm, just get down flat, preferably below ground level. Last week was a severe-weather awareness week for the Illinois region covered by the Quad Cities office, and in Iowa residents will rehearse for storms the last week of this month.