May 13, 2020
Spring of 2020 has been like no other. Schools have shut down, businesses have closed, sporting events have been cancelled, and everyone has been issued to stay indoors with only their families, all due to the recently discovered coronavirus. The outbreak has caused fear, chaos, and uncertainty all over the world, but Iowans may have one more thing to worry about during this spring. According to OnyInYourState.com, this year’s tornado season in Iowa is estimated to be up to 45% above average activity from past years, and the month of March has already confirmed the prediction. Eastern Iowa saw four tornadoes March 28th, causing lots of damage to the towns, but thankfully no casualties.
“I was very shocked to hear there had already been four tornado sightings this yearly in the year,” said junior Reese Peterson.
Iowa’s prime time for tornadoes is May through June, also called, “tornado season.” In 2019, the first tornado wasn’t seen until May 24th, two months later than this year’s first one. Although Iowa isn’t in Tornado Alley, ( Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, and South Dakota) where tornadoes are seen the most in the United States, Iowa is no stranger to these strong storms.
While the public is out stalking up on toilet paper and food for their families during quarantine, it would be smart to also stalk up on storm shelter supplies. According to RainbowInternationRestoration, here are a few things to keep in a storm shelter in case a tornado touches ground; Canned goods (fruits, vegetables, soup, peanut butter), bottled water, blankets, heavy shoes/boots, warm clothing, flashlight, extra batteries, band-aids, and over-the-counter pain medication.
“I have a storage room, with no windows, and we have some water, blankets, freezer, TV, and a bed,” explained junior Will Reiser.
Oftentimes these storms come during the middle of the night, and for deep sleepers, tornado sirens won’t always get one awake. Having a weather radio on and working during the season is smart. Weather radios can be bought online or in stores such as Costco, and will send a loud alarm though the house whenever a strong storm is near the area.
While every home in Iowa should have a prepared, and safe place to go during a tornado warning, (storm shelter, a basement), the last time a tornado was close to Waukee, Iowa was in 1966, approximately 4.5 miles away. But this season may bring one even closer. So while hiding out in a basement with high winds and fierce rain outside, keep some board or card games down in the shelter to keep busy, because oftentimes storms can disconnect or slow down the internet, and cause the T.V disconnect.
“Even where there are tornado warnings I don’t get very nervous, ones never actually been close to me before,” said sophomore Kate Tigges.
During this season of uncertainty, taking precautions in all situations can only do good, no harm. Watch the radar, stalk up on shelter supplies (not toilet paper), and prepare for a stormy spring!