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Dickinson County Emergency Services
Wednesday April 4th, 2012 :: 09:13 a.m. CDT

Statewide tornado drill to take place this morning at 10:00a.m.

Severe Weather Awareness Week-Day 3

Today’s Topic is Tornadoes

The Iowa tornado drill will be conducted this morning. Here is what to expect:

10:00 a.m. CDT storm prediction center issues test tornado watch for most of Iowa valid until 11:00 a.m.

10:10 a.m. CDT Weather Forecast Office (WFO) in Sioux Falls issues a test tornado warning for their Iowa counties, including Dickinson County.

10:15 a.m. CDT Weather Forecast Office (WFO) in Des Moines issues a test tornado warning for their Iowa counties.

10:15 a.m. CDT Weather Forecast Office (WFO) in Quad Cities issues a test tornado warning for their Iowa counties.

10:20 a.m. CDT Weather Forecast Office (WFO) in La Crosse issues test a tornado warning for their Iowa counties.

10:30 a.m. until 10:45 a.m. all participating Iowa Weather Forecast Offices issue a severe weather statement terminating the test.

A tornado is a rapidly rotating column of air in contact with the ground. A visible cloud is not needed for a tornado to be in progress. Some tornadoes may not appear to extend to the ground but are causing considerable damage. Tornadoes take on various shapes and sizes, and most produce winds less than 120 mph. However, a few are capable of producing winds over 200 mph. Some are very small and last for only a minute or so, while others can be a mile or two wide and stay on the ground for over an hour.

What to Listen For

A tornado watch is issued by the National Weather Service when conditions are favorable for the development of tornadoes in and close to the watch area. Watches are generally issued for the duration of 1-6 hours and well in advance of the actual occurrence of severe weather. During the watch, people should be prepared to move to a place of safety if threatening weather approaches. A tornado warning is issued by the national weather service when a tornado is indicated by radar or sighted by spotters. People in the affected area should seek safe shelter immediately.

Tornado Emergency

A tornado emergency means that significant, widespread damage with a high likelihood of numerous fatalities is expected to continue with a strong and violent tornado. A tornado emergency is not a new warning product, but a high impact call-to-action.

Be Ready for a Tornado

To be ready for a tornado, have a NOAA weather radio with a warning alarm tone and battery backup. Make sure your family and people in your workplace are familiar with safety precautions and the location of safe shelter. Review the procedures and practice them.

If you are in a home or other building when a tornado strikes, move underneath a table, workbench or staircase. Stay away from windows.

Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes and should be abandoned. If an underground shelter is not available, move to the lowest, most interior room available. Safe places in an office building, shopping mall or school, include interior hallways. Crouch on the ground floor against a wall, covering your head with your hands. Leave wide open rooms like gyms, auditoriums or common areas of shopping malls as they are unsafe.

If you are caught out in the open or in a vehicle never try to outrun a tornado especially if they are nearby. Tornadoes can move at speeds of over 50 mph and change directions quickly. Many people mistakenly think that highway overpasses provide safety from a tornado. In reality, an overpass may be one of the worst places to seek shelter from a tornado. Seeking shelter under and overpass puts you at greater risk of being killed or injured by flying debris. Tornadic winds can make the most benign item a dangerous missile. In addition to the debris that can injure you, the winds under an overpass are channeled and could easily blow you or carry you out from under the overpass.

Dickinson County Emergency Services
1802 Hill Avenue
Spirit Lake, IA 51360

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 712-336-2525

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