Oelwein deemed "Storm Ready" - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Oelwein deemed "Storm Ready"

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The city of Oelwein has been designated a "storm ready" community. The National Weather Service formally presented the city council with the designation at its meeting Monday night.

Oelwein Fire Chief Wallace Rundle says the city stands ready when storms approach. He says it's come a long way since a devastating tornado in 1968.

All firefighters in his department are storm spotters. They're in constant communication to make sure if storms go severe, people can react.

The city of 6400 has 5 sirens and a communications system that won't fail during in an emergency.

"Our outdoor weather system is based on battery operation so it's radio-activated with battery so we can lose power and that will not affect the sirens going off. We could also lose phone communication to the sirens. That's no longer the case, it's directly from the transmitter," says Rundle.

The city's severe weather preparedness plan has earned it the designation as "storm ready" from the National Weather Service.

"One of the criteria is having a weather radio in any school or public building so if a storm or flood situation occurs, they're notified. Also, having a person monitoring the weather and what's happening 24 hours a day so even in the middle of the night, they are prepared for severe weather coming," says Tim Halbach of the National Weather Service.

While the "Hub City" joins Edgewood as the only other eastern Iowa city to be certified "storm ready", city officials say they don't think it will be long before many others will join them.

"We feel very proud of it but other communities are close. Once the word gets out of this designation, there will be a lot of other communities striving to do what we did so we hope it's contagious," says Rundle.

Along with the cities of Oelwein and Edgewood, Buchanan, Benton and Johnson Counties, as well as the University of Dubuque, F. W. Kent Park in Oxford and Howard H. Cherry Scout Reservation in Central City have also been deemed "storm ready" by the National Weather Service.

Storm Ready Communities

Oelwein Storm Ready

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