The Ottumwa Courier

Southeast Iowa

May 5, 2014

State disaster official advises storm readiness

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The state's top disaster services official says the death of two Iowans in April 27 storms highlights the need to develop a storm preparedness plan.

Mark Schouten, Iowa's emergency management director recommends Iowans stay aware by keeping a battery operated radio or a cell phone with a storm alert application nearby. Families should have emergency plans and emergency storm kits ready.

Schouten says the Keokuk County storm in late April was not identified as a tornado by the National Weather Service until after a second person died. One woman was killed near Martinsburg, the other near Kinross. Both were caught outside when winds hit.

Schouten says Iowa has built an increasing number of school tornado safe rooms with 33 completed projects and funding approved for more.

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