March 24-28, 2014, is Severe Weather Awareness Week in Iowa. Lee County Emergency Management Agency, the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, and the National Weather Service have joined together to promote severe weather awareness and preparedness during this week.
Changing seasons bring unsettled weather. Steve Cirinna, Lee County Emergency Management Coordinator, encourages everyone to be prepared and know how to stay safe during and after the storm. You never know when a storm may hit, creating potential electrical hazards, damage to your home or property, or injuries. The best solution is to plan ahead and be prepared.
For each day during Severe Weather Awareness Week, a different subject will be featured on the weather radio and state websites for residents to get prepared for the anticipated storms that will strike our area.
Monday – Flash floods
Tuesday – Weather warnings
Wednesday – Tornadoes
Thursday – Severe thunderstorms
Friday – Family preparedness
The highlight of Severe Weather Awareness Week is the annual tornado drill scheduled for Wednesday, March 26, at approximately 10 AM. A test watch will be issued at about 10:00, 10:15 a test warning and cancelation of both at around 10:30. Schools, businesses, state and local governments and individuals are strongly encouraged to participate in the drill. Additional information about the tornado drill can be found on the Davenport NWS website at www.weather.gov/quadcities.
The weather service will activate the all-hazards weather radio system and Emergency Alert System (EAS). The Cities of Keokuk and Fort Madison are planning on activating their outdoor warning sirens approximately 10:15 am. The sirens will be turned on and confirmed that they are working and then be turned off.
In the event of severe weather in Iowa on Wednesday, March 26th, the drill will be postponed until Thursday, the 27th of March according to Cirinna. “The drill can be postponed by the National Weather Service if severe weather is threatening other parts of the state since this is a state-wide drill. We do not want to confuse anyone with a test if there is a true threat to life or property and we want citizens to take immediate action to protect themselves.”
All residents, no matter where you live, are urged to purchase an all hazards weather radio from a local retailer if they have not done so already. As the siren system is an outdoor warning system and may not necessarily be heard by those who are indoors or are not nearby a siren, the weather radio is designed to work indoors. Plus there are many areas in the county such as the rural areas and housing developments outside the city limits who cannot hear the outdoor warning sirens. If individuals need assistance programming their radio they can contact Lee County Emergency Management for assistance.
Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management will post information on individual and family preparedness at www.beready.iowa.gov. The National Weather Service will promote severe weather safety on their websites and by issuing informative public information statements.
Additional information about severe weather, emergency preparedness and family safety can be found at www.ready.gov or www.beready.iowa.gov. You can also follow Lee County Iowa Emergency Management on Facebook for helpful tips and other information.