Emergency Management

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Thunderstorms

Storms can develop quickly and occur with little or no warning. Heavy winds and lightning caused by storms can cause extended power outages, uprooted trees, landslides, and downed or broken utility lines. Additionally, heavy rains can cause flash floods.

While watching the weather, listen for:

  • Tornado Watch - Tornadoes are possible in the watch area. Remain alert for approaching storms.
  • Tornado Warning - A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. If a tornado warning is issued for your area and the sky becomes threatening, move to your pre-designated place of safety.
  • Severe Thunderstorm Watch - Severe thunderstorms are possible in the watch area.
  • Severe Thunderstorm Warning - Severe thunderstorms are occurring. Remember, tornadoes occasionally develop in areas in which a Severe Thunderstorm Watch or Warning is in effect. Remain alert to signs of an approaching tornado and seek shelter if threatening conditions exist.

During the Storm

  • Avoid handling metal, electrical equipment, telephones, bathtubs, water faucets and sinks, because electric current from lightening can travel through wires and pipes
  • If you are outside, take cover in a stable facility. Avoid taking shelter under trees
  • Tune in to local TV/radio channels for emergency advisories and instructions
  • Avoid walking through water that has seeped in your home - it may contain hazardous materials
  • If you are asked to evacuate your home, disconnect all electrical appliances
  • Call the non-emergency number for the police or public works to report fallen trees or tree limbs, or clogged catch basins
  • Call the non-emergency number for the police or public works to report flooded streets
  • Avoid downed power lines and broken gas lines. Report them to 9-1-1.

After the Storm

  • Assess your immediate environment
  • Report fallen trees, flooded streets or damaged public utilities to proper department
  • Stay tuned to local weather stations for updated information

Contact Us

Polk County Emergency Management
1907 Carpenter Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50314
(515) 286-2107

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