Spring is here, and so is severe weather season. The State of Iowa has designated April 6-10 as Severe Weather Awareness Week.
Wednesday, April 8 has been designated as the state-wide tornado drill. At approximately 10 a.m., a mock tornado watch will be issued for Cherokee County. At approximately 10:10 am, a mock tornado warning will be issued.
When the mock warning is issued, the outdoor warning sirens in all of the communities in Cherokee County will sound. This is an excellent time to practice going to your place of safety during a tornado.
It is important to remember that when you hear the sirens, please DO NOT CALL 911!
You should tune in to the radio or TV to get information. The 911 operators are very busy taking emergency calls during a storm and do not have time to answer general inquiries about the weather.
One of the hazards Cherokee County faces every year is severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. These storms produce strong, damaging winds, large amounts of rain and dangerous lightning. There are some things you can do to ensure your safety during these weather events.
As you notice the storm approaching, listen to NOAA weather radio or a local radio station for weather updates. It is also important for you keep your eyes on the sky. Look for darkening skies, flashes of light or increasing wind. Listen for thunder. If you can hear it, you are close enough to be struck by lightning.
Be sure to stay indoors. If a tornado warning is issued, immediately go to your shelter area. It is important that your shelter area have a NOAA weather radio or a battery operated radio so you can keep updated on the weather.
If you are caught outdoors during a severe storm, immediately go to a low-lying, open place away from trees, poles or metal objects.
Make sure the place you pick is not subject to flooding. Then you should make yourself the smallest target possible for lightning. Curl up into a ball with your head tucked between your knees.
After the storm passes, stay away from storm damaged areas and listen to the radio for further instructions.
If you would like more information on severe weather preparedness you may contact Cherokee County Emergency Management at 225-6721.