It's springtime in Iowa, which means the conditions are favorable for any kind of weather, no matter how bizarre. It's also a good time to revisit some of the things we, as Iowans, learned growing up, as well as educate those who may not be used to Iowa's extreme weather.
A storm, flood, or tornado watch means that conditions are favorable for the formation of tornadoes in thunderstorms. While no immediate action is required, you should be aware that a storm could develop and be prepared to seek shelter if necessary.
A warning means that a storm or tornado has been sighted on the weather Doppler radar and you should take shelter now.
According to the National Weather Service, a severe storm refers to hail greater than or equal to 1" in diameter and/or wind gusts that meet or exceed 58 mph. Although these storms can also be associated with dangerous cloud to ground lightning or heavy rainfall that is capable of causing flash flooding.
A tornado warning is something to be taken very seriously. Many people are killed each year because they are not aware that a storm is developing and are caught without proper shelter.
What you should do if a tornado warning has been issued or a tornado is sighted:
If you are in a house: