MUSCATINE, Iowa – Memories of the 2017 tornado that skipped through Muscatine are still on the minds of many residents as the city, county, and state prepare for the potential for more severe weather in 2018. The importance of severe weather preparedness was highlighted Monday by Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds who signed a proclamation designating March 26-30, 2018, as Severe Weather Awareness Week in Iowa.
Gov. Reynolds, along with Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg, state and local emergency management officials, and the National Weather Service, highlighted the importance of severe weather preparedness during a press conference Monday (March 26) in Des Moines.
“From heavy rainfall to flooding and high winds to tornadoes, severe weather will soon be starting up for the season,” Gov. Reynolds said. “It goes with the territory of living in Iowa, but it’s our responsibility to be prepared.”
The first topic of the week involves severe thunderstorms. A different subject will be highlighted each day with weather warnings on Tuesday, tornadoes Wednesday, family preparedness Thursday, and flash floods on Friday.
According to the National Weather Service (NWS), severe thunderstorms are officially defined as storms that are capable of producing hail that is an inch or larger and can damage property such as plants, roofs, and vehicles, or have wind gusts over 58 mph which are capable of breaking off large branches, knocking over trees or causing structural damage to trees. Some of these storms produce hail as large as softballs and wind gusts reaching over 100 mph.
Knowing what to do before, during, and after severe weather can increase your chances of survival.
For more information on severe thunderstorm safety visit http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/thunderstorm/
“While bad things can’t always be prevented, we can be ready to take care of ourselves and our loved ones,” Lt. Gov. Gregg said. “There are simple steps we can all take now to be better prepared in the future.”
HSEMD Director Mark Schouten said because spring is an active time for severe weather, Iowans should make sure they have an emergency plan, make an emergency supply kit and stay weather aware.
Fact sheets about severe weather preparedness are available on the Ready Iowa website, beready.iowa.gov.
The Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEMD), the National Weather Service (NWS) and the Iowa Emergency Management Association (IEMA) are teaming up to promote awareness and preparedness during Severe Weather Awareness Week.
Muscatine County and MUSCOM will be testing the sirens at 10 a.m. Wednesday. Although this is just a test, it is a good time for individuals, families, schools, and businesses to practice their emergency plan for severe weather.
The annual statewide tornado drill will take place on Wednesday, March 28, 2018, beginning at 10 a.m. Schools, businesses, individuals and state and local governments are strongly encouraged to participate. Additional information about the tornado drill can be found on local NWS websites (https://www.weather.gov/dvn/)