As the spring season approaches, so does the potential for severe weather events. In Dubuque, Iowa, from March 25th to 29th, citizens are gearing up for Severe Weather Awareness Week, a crucial initiative to foster preparedness and safety in the face of nature's fury.

Large Swathes Of U.S. Under Excessive Heat Warnings
Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Organized collaboratively by the Dubuque County Emergency Management Agency, Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEMD), National Weather Service (NWS), and Iowa Emergency Management Association (IEMA), this annual event is more than just a calendar entry—it's a call to action for every resident to be vigilant and ready for any impending storms.

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Why Severe Weather Awareness Matters

Severe weather poses significant risks to life and property. From thunderstorms to tornadoes, and flash floods to extreme winds, by raising awareness and promoting preparedness, communities can mitigate the impact of these natural disasters. Each day of Severe Weather Awareness Week in Iowa is dedicated to a specific aspect of preparedness:

  • Monday: Severe Thunderstorms
  • Tuesday: Weather Warnings
  • Wednesday: Tornadoes
  • Thursday: Family Preparedness
  • Friday: Flash Floods

This structured approach ensures that citizens understand the various threats posed by severe weather and are equipped with the knowledge to respond effectively.

Powerful Derecho Causes Widespread Damage Across Iowa Farmland
Credit: Daniel Acker / Getty Images
In this aerial image from a drone, damaged grain bins are shown at the Heartland Co-Op grain elevator on August 11, 2020 in Luther, Iowa. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said early estimates indicate 10 million acres, nearly a 1/3 of the state's land used for crops, were damaged when a powerful storm battered the region a day earlier.

Taking Action in Iowa: Tornado Drills and Spotter Training

One of the week's highlight events is the statewide tornado drill, scheduled for Wednesday, March 27, 2024, at 10:00 AM. The City of Dubuque and surrounding areas will participate, rehearsing emergency response procedures. Should severe weather intervene, the drill will be postponed to March 28 at the same time.

Major Tornado Outbreak In Midwest Leaves Trail Of Damage
Credit: Eric Francis / Getty Images
Damaged sustained to South West Community College following a tornado April 15, 2012 in Creston, Iowa. Parts of the northern edge of Creston were affected by strong winds and tornados including damage to the Greater Regional Medical Center. The storms were part of a massive system that affected areas from Northern Nebraska and Iowa south through Oklahoma.

Additionally, the Dubuque County EMA will host a storm spotter training class on Tuesday, March 26, providing citizens with invaluable insights into identifying severe weather patterns and staying safe during storms. Led by National Weather Service Quad Cities experts, this class is open to the public and requires no registration.

Credit: The National Weather Service / Quad Cities Office
Credit: The National Weather Service / Quad Cities Office

Staying Up-To-Date: Emergency Alerts and Resources

In today's digital age, staying informed is easier than ever. Citizens are urged to sign up for emergency alerts through Alert Iowa, ensuring they receive timely notifications about severe weather watches and warnings. Registration is simple, either through the website or via text message.

Flooding Along Mississippi River Persists After Cresting Along Illinois And Iowa Border
Credit: Scott Olson / Getty Images
Homes are surrounded by floodwater from the Mississippi River on May 03, 2023 near Le Claire, Iowa. According to the National Weather Service, the Mississippi River in the area is expected to remain at major flood stage into next week.

For those seeking more information on severe weather preparedness, resources are readily available. Websites like offer valuable tips and guidelines to help individuals and families prepare for the worst.

Credit: Canva
Credit: Canva

A Community Effort: Social Media and Keeping Iowa Engaged & Informed

Finally, Severe Weather Awareness Week encourages community engagement through social media. By following the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Iowa Emergency Management Association, and National Weather Service on platforms like Twitter and Facebook and using hashtags like #lAwx and #Readylowa, residents can stay connected and share vital information with their neighbors regarding incoming and inclement severe weather. And don't worry, winter will be back before you know it.

Severe Weather Awareness Week in Iowa serves as a crucial reminder of the unpredictable nature of our environment and the importance of being prepared. Be proactive, stay informed, and work as a community. Together, we can help minimize the impact of severe weather and keep our loved ones safe.

KEEP READING: What to do after a tornado strikes

LOOK: The most expensive weather and climate disasters in recent decades

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Gallery Credit: KATELYN LEBOFF

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