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
  • Victim advocates: Helping families cope DAVNPORT — Family members of a slain Wapello County woman have someone to lean on — literally and figuratively — while they sit through a murder trial for the third time. Seth Techel, 23, is on trial in Scott County, Davenport. He faces charges of fi

    July 24, 2014

  • 0725 OTT Five Things logo -L -T Five things to do in southeast Iowa this weekend OTTUMWA — There's a wide variety of activities to choose from this weekend in southeast Iowa. Get out and explore the countryside, find some new books to curl up with or help raise money for some great causes. The choice is yours — pick one or attend

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0724 OTT Tehel mug -T -M Jury begins deliberations DAVENPORT — The fate of a Wapello County man accused of killing his wife is in the hands of a jury in Scott County, which began deliberations Wednesday and will continue deliberating today.The jury began deliberations about 4 p.m. Wednesday in the ca

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Van Buren says bye-bye to Waste Management KEOSAUQUA — Waste Management has been charging the Van Buren Community School District an average of nearly $1,600 a month to remove waste and recycled materials from the Douds and Keosauqua centers. Now faced with a bidding process, Waste Management

    July 23, 2014

  • Prosecution: All evidence points to Techel as killer DAVENPORT — Just as all roads lead to Rome, so all evidence points to a Wapello County man accused of killing his wife, according to the prosecution. Assistant Attorney General Andrew Prosser, who is prosecuting the case for the third time, said defe

    July 23, 2014

  • Pesticide use is not all bad OTTUMWA — When you pick up a grocery ad, it seems like every other page has a produce item stamped USDA Organic, meaning that those items were spared from chemicals including Glyphosate, the most common pesticide in the world. As the Organic Food Mov

    July 23, 2014

  • 0724 OTT Kitchen Science color photo -L -T Kitchen science sparks curiosity OTTUMWA — A lucky group of children spent Wednesday morning experimenting with kitchen science and creating geysers of foam at the Knights of Columbus hall. The Kitchen Science performance was presented by Waterloo's Grout Museum and is part of the O

    July 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Making something of themselves OTTUMWA — Community leaders this week heard how Ottumwa's Job Corps started from nothing yet became successful. But they also heard from students who said they were doing nothing until they found success through Job Corps. "After I dropped out of hig

    July 23, 2014

  • New charges filed in abuse case OTTUMWA — A single charge against a man for sexual abuse has been replaced by a new trial information, and authorities are throwing the book at him. Grant Troxel was initially charged in early June with sexual abuse. But the new list of charges indic

    July 23, 2014

  • 0724 OTT car investigation color photo -L Tip led to Tuesday arrest OTTUMWA — There was more to the incident Tuesday in which officers surrounded a car near U.S. Bank in downtown Ottumwa than just a routine traffic stop. Police Chief Tom McAndrew said Jason Tobek, 36, is in custody and faces charges of interference w

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

Photo reprints


Obituaries

Facebook