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Severe weather awareness week starts today

Published: Monday, March 25, 2013 11:01 a.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, March 25, 2013 11:02 a.m. CDT

Be aware of the weather.

Iowa Severe Weather Awareness Week, March 25-29, has begun.

“Severe weather week is a time when we at the department, we kind of review our policies and procedures, what we go through, our criteria for sounding the storm sirens,” said Creston Fire Chief Todd Jackson. “The fire department actually is the primary activator in the storm sirens.”

Severe weather week is set up to highlight the weather that is prevalent this time of year, such as flash flooding and thunderstorms.

“The Creston Fire Department monitors when we have a report that there’s potential severe weather,” said Jackson. “We do monitor the weather radar if there’s anything interesting going on.”

Jo Duckworth, Union County Emergency Management coordinator, said emergency management gets the word out about severe weather through the media and having a tornado drill across the county. The drill will begin 10 a.m. Wednesday. The sirens will go off about 10:15 a.m., and the drill will finish at about 10:30 a.m.

“It’s basically a severe weather thing, and we just want people to be prepared as we go into spring, and to think about what they will do if a particular storm or warning is issued. We want them to have a plan in place,” said Duckworth.

Outdoor weather sirens are not meant to be heard within a home or building, so it is recommended to get weather radios and alerts on cell phones.

“If it gets bad enough,” Jackson said, “then, we call in the crew, and we potentially send out spotters to different areas in the county.”

Spotters are firefighters who are trained in severe weather recognition, and they are sent to different areas of the county to spot the weather.

Each day this week will focus on a different part of severe weather that occurs in Iowa. Today, the focus is flash flooding. Tuesday’s focus will be receiving and understanding warnings. Wednesday’s focus will be tornadoes, and there will be a tornado drill at 10 a.m. Thursday, the focus will be on severe thunderstorms, and Friday’s focus will be family preparedness.

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