The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

September 4, 2013

Open house will showcase changing weather tech

JOHNSTON — The National Weather Service wants good weather on Sept. 21. They really, really want it.

Sure, you might think. Nice weather makes life easier on everyone (and makes the forecasts simpler in most cases). But Sept. 21 is a special day for the Des Moines office. They're having an open house for the first time in years.

Nice weather should help draw more people, but imagine what happens if part of the office's 51-county area is hit with a severe outbreak while people are walking through the facility. It's a recipe for confusion.

Jeff Johnson, a warning coordination meteorologist out of Des Moines, said more is planned than just a quick tour through the office in Johnston. It hasn't happened in some time.

“It's been since '07, so every five or six years,” he said. “We'll have our partners out front as well. We're hoping for a good turnout. We're looking forward to it, think it's going to be a good thing.”

Johnson's office is where warnings for most of this area originate. Wapello County is on the southeastern edge of the office's responsibilities; Keokuk, Jefferson and Van Buren counties are part of the Quad Cities office's territory.

Technology has changed not just how forecasters get their information, Johnson said, but how they send it out to the public. Social media efforts for the National Weather Service are growing. So is a move to direct alerts over the nation's cell networks.

Wireless Emergency Alerts started last year, but you probably haven't seen them unless you've updated your phone comparatively recently. Most major carriers signed on with the technology, which sends weather alerts to cell phones based on which towers they are in communication with.

The system was in place for this spring's severe weather season, but Iowa didn't have much of a season this year. The way Johnson figures it, the first big chance for people to receive the alerts will probably be this winter.

Text Only
Local News
  • Where do my taxes go? OTTUMWA — Wapello County Board certified its tax levy. But what does that mean? Based on budgets submitted by various levying authors, the Wapello County Auditor prepares and certifies the levy rates for the county. Budgets for each levy are based on

    July 30, 2014

  • OCSD releases elementary supplies list

    OTTUMWA — For years, parents of the students in Ottumwa's elementary schools have had to check to make sure the school supplies list they grabbed was the right one for their school. No more.

    July 30, 2014

  • Reducing runoff at the local level AGENCY — Pollution isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you look out at a field of Iowa corn or soybeans, but there’s growing concern about what manages to get out of the fields and into the water. The same nutrients that benefit the crops c

    July 30, 2014

  • Supervisors wrestle with staffing woes KEOSAUQUA — Van Buren County Supervisor Chairman Bob Waugh says he wants county supervisors to help alleviate staffing problems within the county treasurer’s office. In May, supervisors opted not to replace a vacancy within the treasurer’s office. Va

    July 30, 2014

  • 0730 OTT Better Buildings -T -M Wildwood could be your home OTTUMWA — There was always one child per class who just adored school. If they went to Wildwood, they may soon be able to move in permanently. The Ottumwa board of education met Monday, where staff told them where the district stood as far as "facili

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • A changing roster -- for school board OTTUMWA — If the last time you saw your board of education was before Christmastime, the current school board might surprise you. Two members retired from the board: longtime educator Ron Oswalt stepped down, as did board president Carol Mitchell. Bo

    July 29, 2014

  • Iowa Lottery Lottery sales top $3 million mark

    OTTUMWA — Mother Nature may have thrown Iowans a brutal winter, but it didn’t stop them from venturing out to buy lottery tickets. On Tuesday, the Iowa Lottery confirmed that it had topped the $3 million mark in sales for the third consecutive year.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • halo-5-guardians-concept_wallpaper-1920x1080-53cf9b0098ea45ada37dc0f66bc174f5.jpg The Art of Kong

    OTTUMWA — The Mona Lisa. Whistler's Mother. Donkey Kong? Don't be so surprised, said Walter Day, that video games and the surrounding memorabilia are being considered art. The creativity and artistic vision required to create a poster, said the found

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Slideshow: Truck overturns on roundabout

    July 28, 2014

  • 0729 OTT Picture veteran -T -M Veteran finally receives his medals OTTUMWA — A World War II injury may have saved the life of a U.S. Coast Guardsman from Iowa, but he lost friends and a box of military awards. Francis Hardy Harbour was born on Dec.16, 1919, in Drakesville. He joined the Coast Guard in 1941 as a mach

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

Photo reprints


Obituaries

Facebook