Living in Iowa, we are no stranger to severe weather and tornadoes. Since 1980, Iowa has averaged 46 tornadoes per year. These dangerous, and sometimes deadly storms can occur any day of the year and at any time. This is why it's important to have a plan in place to stay safe during a tornado, no matter where you are.
If you hear the sirens sound outside, or the Storm Track 7 Weather Alert when you're watching KWWL inside, you know severe weather is barreling down, and it's time to take action. So, what should you do?
If you are inside your home, head to the lowest level of your home, preferably a basement, and cover your head to prevent injury flying debris. If you don't have a basement, head to a room with no windows, such as a closet or bathroom, and take something to cover your head, such as a football or bicycle helmet.
If you are outside during a tornado, you need to find the nearest, sturdy building and take shelter inside. NO place outside is safe during a tornado. If there is no other option, lie flat on the ground, preferably in a ditch, and protect your head from any flying debris.
NOW is the time to prepare, before severe weather is in the forecast. Have a plan of action in place in case a Tornado Watch or Warning is issued. Speaking of watches and warnings, there is sometimes confusion about the difference between the two. A Tornado Watch means conditions are favorable for a tornado in and around your area. These typically last for about six hours, and cover a large area, sometimes several states.
A Tornado Warning means you need to take action immediately. A tornado has either been detected by Doppler Radar or spotted by a trained storm spotter. The average lead time for a Tornado Warning is 13 minutes -- enough time to execute the plan you have in place for your family.
As always, when severe weather strikes, the Storm Track 7 team of meteorologists will be on the air, and online bringing you the latest, life saving information. You can also get updates on the free Storm Track 7 Weather App, Facebook, and Twitter.
If your area is under a Tornado Warning, or Severe Thunderstorm Warning for that matter, it is important that you seek shelter, because we never know exactly how strong these storms are, until the storm is over.