Severe thunderstorms took a heavy toll on Iowa last year and the National Weather Service is reminding Iowans about the dangers of all storms during the state’s Severe Weather Awareness Week. N-W-S meteorologist Jeff Johnson gives the definition of a severe storm. Johnson says a severe storm has hail that is penny-size or larger and storms with winds over 58 miles per hour, although any thunderstorm is a risk due to the presence of lightning. Johnson says people also need to be aware of the dangers of flash flooding. He says flooding kills twice the number of people as tornadoes nationwide every year. He stresses that motorists who encounter a flooded road should -not- try to drive through it. He repeats the motto: Turn around, don’t drown. Johnson says trained storm spotters are key in helping the weather service keep an eye on developing severe weather. Johnson says anybody with an interest in the weather may want to take a storm spotter training class.There are storm spotter training classes coming up in several Iowa cities, including tonight (Tuesday) at the Mason City Police Department at 7 o’clock and April 4th at the Coulter Fire Department at 7 o’clock. For more information about Severe Weather Awareness Week, surf to the National Weather Service home page at “www.nws.noaa.gov”.
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