SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – Summer in Siouxland means severe weather season and all the dangers that come with it, from torrential rains to tornadoes.
Woodbury County Emergency Management is urging all of Siouxland to pay attention to outdoor warning signals as well as notifications on the television and online.
“With the outdoor warning that signifies obviously that you need to seek shelter, you could hear those signals not only in the case of a tornado but also for high winds which are cable of producing the same damages as a small tornado,” said Rebecca Socknat, the Woodbury County Emergency Management coordinator.
In the case of high winds and tornados, powerlines can be taken down near homes and businesses.
“We want people to stay away. Energy can travel through the ground in quite distances, and we don’t want anyone to get hurt. If you see a down powerline, call the communication center [and] let them know where the instance is at. That way personnel can get there to assess the situation,” said Ryan Collins, the deputy fire marshal of Sioux City Fire Rescue.
One misconception is that pulling your car off the road and under a bridge will protect you from a tornado or straight-line winds.
“People have tried to stop under overpasses or bridges along the interstate. That wind tunnel effect is created by that low pressure. It is a more dangerous spot for people to be so its best to be out away from those structures,” said Iowa State Patrol John Farley.
Once the storm has passed, debris can be a problem.
“We want to make sure even after the storm to venture outside carefully make sure you are looking all around you to the sides but don’t forget to look up as well because there may be some hanging limbs that could come down to injure someone,” said Collins.
Woodbury County Emergency Management recommends having an emergency kit on hand in case of severe weather. That kit should include a weather radio, flashlight, first aid kit, and non-perishable food items.