If you spotted a tornado, right now, would you know what to do? A statewide tornado drill will be held this morning as part of Severe Weather Awareness Week. Meteorologist Jeff Johnson, at the National Weather Service office in Des Moines, says when weather conditions are right for tornadoes to form, Iowans need to make sure they’re prepared.
Johnson says: "A watch means conditions are favorable for tornadic thunderstorms and a warning means we either have indications of a tornado on radar and/or spotters have reported a tornado. We need to get on top of that. You need to move to an interior room in the lowest part of your house and abandon mobile homes. Get into the shelter." If you’re on the road and hear those familiar warning tones on the radio, Johnson says taking immediate action could save your life.
Johnson says: "You want to abandon your cars — I don’t mean run into the ditch just because of the warning, obviously, but try to get to a place and go to an interior shelter where it has a safe room or a basement. Be very careful when you’re out during a tornado warning." Johnson says the use of emerging technology to issue warnings before a tornado hits has helped save an untold number of lives in recent years.
He says: "That’s our goal, to actually get the warning out before the spotter reports it. That way, we’re providing some lead time for the community, for people to take cover. All of our technology, we use the dopler radar to see inside the wind fields inside thunderstorms, but we also use satellite and other meteorological monitoring devices to help us issue good tornado warnings." Seven Iowans have been killed over the past ten years in tornadoes. The statewide tornado drill starts at 10 o’clock this morning. For more information about Severe Weather Awareness Week, visit the National Weather Service website .