Today marks the annual observance of Severe Weather Awareness Week.

National Weather Service meteorologist Brooke Hagenhoff says they will be focusing on different issues each day of the week.
Monday will focus on severe thunderstorms, Tuesday looks at ways to receive weather warnings, Wednesday focuses on tornadoes, Thursday spotlights family preparedness, and then Friday focuses on flash flooding.

Hagenoff says one change was brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. “Normally on Wednesday we’ll do a statewide tornado drill at ten a-m — but for a number reasons, we’ve decided not to do that. Of course, safety is going to the highest importance right now, and gathering people in small rooms for a period of time and packed together is not the best idea for health and safety at this moment,” according to Hagenhoff.

There were 54 tornadoes in Iowa laster year — which was a drop from the 69 tornadoes in 2018. Hegenhoff says the important thing to stress this week is preparing a plan if there is bad weather and you need to seek shelter. “That happens regardless of whether there is a global pandemic or not,” according to Hagenhoff. “It’s really keeping track of ways you can keep yourself safe. Where you are at home or working from home — or whether you are at work or at school or wherever you may be. A lot of those things have been canceled so you may have to think about different ways that you can keep your family safe.”

She says in Iowa you have to remain aware of the potential for severe weather when the season hits — or it could catch you in a dangerous situation. “The weather is going to keep on going and we are going to have a severe weather season just like we have every year,” she says. “Remembering to keep track of the weather and be alert for any warnings that are issued is going to be very important this spring.”

You may find out more about severe weather and tips for staying safe at

(By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)