Tornados have already killed 55 people so far this year in the United States. To increase awareness of this danger and provide education on actions that should be taken to reduce vulnerability to protect lives, Story County Emergency Management, Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management, and the National Weather Service (NWS) have declared the week of April 2nd through the 6th, Severe Weather Awareness Week. This is an annual event to remind Iowans that severe weather is a part of living here and that an understanding of weather risks and how to respond to them can save lives.
The highlight of the week will be the statewide tornado drill on Wednesday, April 4th. Details of the tornado test are below:
• 10:00 AM- The Storm Prediction Center will issue a Test Tornado Watch for Iowa.
• 10:15 AM- NWS Des Moines will issue test tornado warnings for their Iowa counties.
• 10:30-10:35 AM- All Iowa NWS offices issues a Severe Weather Statement to terminate the test warnings.
• 11:00 AM- Test tornado watch expires.
• If severe weather threatens on Wednesday - April 4th, the test will be conducted on Thursday - April 5th at the same time.
The highlight of the week will be the statewide tornado drill at 10:15 am on Wednesday, April 4th when the Des Moines NWS will issue a test tornado warning. This warning will allow communities to test their tornado sirens which are designed to provide warning of potentially hazardous weather conditions to people who are outside. Individuals and business should also use this test to confirm they can receive the warning on their NOAA weather radios which should be one of their primary warning sources while inside buildings. At 10:35 am the NWS will issue another test statement which will terminate the drill.
If your NOAA weather radio has a battery back-up, this drill should serve as a reminder to change these batteries. Everyone should also review their disaster preparations which should allow them to be self-sufficient for 72 hours in the wake of any disaster or emergency. Business should also use this drill to test their procedures to protect the lives of their employees if severe weather strikes during business hours and also to evaluate their plans to continue operations after a storm. Information on assembling a disaster kit and business continuity can be located on the new Story County website at Story County Emergency Management under Disaster & Emergency Preparedness.
Story County Emergency Management can also be followed through Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/storycountyema which is being used for public education and Emergency Management activities.