Forecasters are warning residents of Iowa and nearby states to stay alert to the likelihood of an explosive outbreak of severe weather today. A Severe Thunderstorm Watch remains in effect until 10-a.m. for Fremont, Mills and Pottawattamie County. National Weather Service Meteorologist Kenny Podrazik, in Johnston, told KJAN News people need to be ready to react quickly, especially if you are planning to be outdoors. Severe storms popped-up early this morning in southeast Nebraska, and were moving toward western Iowa.
Podrazik says there will essentially be two rounds of storms today. The first round will move through this morning, bringing with it the possibility of large hail and heavy rain. After those storms move northeast and clear out by mid-day, that will allow the atmosphere to become even more unstable and set the stage for severe weather this afternoon and tonight. Podrazik says they’re expecting Super Cell tornadoes and large hail. The potential exists for large, long-tracking tornadoes with this event, which forecasters began warning about early Saturday morning.
He says while it’s hard to tell how bad the tornadoes might rate on the “Enhanced Fujita Scale”until after the damage is done, the experts have an idea of what we might expect. Podrazik says the Severe Storms Prediction Center in Norman, OK., does have a “10-percent ‘hatched’ area across much of central and southwest Iowa.” That means there’s a 10-percent chance of an EF-2 to EF-5 tornado within 25 miles of a certain point. An EF-2 consists of 111-to 135-mile per hour winds and causes considerable damage. An EF-5 packs winds of up to 200-miles per hour and cause “Incredible damage.”
He says that while 10% may not seem like a high probability, climatologically speaking, it’s a pretty good chance for Iowa. Podrazik says residents need to stay close to their NOAA Weather Radio, tune-in area TV and/or Radio stations, and be prepared to act if the sirens sound in their community. Other ways to follow the storm watches and warnings are on social media, including Facebook and Twitter, and at www.weather.gov/desmoines.
If severe weather strikes, get to the lowest level of your home or business, underneath a staircase or heavy-duty table. If that’s not available, go to an interior room in the building without windows, get as low as possible and cover yourself with blankets. Opening the windows during a tornado WILL NOT matter as far as equalizing pressure in the home and trying to prevent damage. Seeking shelter should be your first and only priority.