OTTUMWA — As part of Severe Weather Week this week, the city of Ottumwa will participate in a statewide tornado drill Wednesday at 11 a.m.

State officials will issue a test tornado watch over the NOAA weather radio at that time. If severe weather threatens that day, the test will be delayed until Thursday.

The city encourages residents to monitor local media, NOAA weather radio or the National Weather Service for current weather information. The NWS issues severe weather-related information across multiple platforms — both public and private — simultaneously.

Ottumwa's outdoor sirens are sounded to warn people who are outside of confirmed hazardous weather conditions. Siren activation occurs upon report or identification of a tornado, winds of at least 70 mph, or golf ball-sized hail anywhere within Wapello County.

When a siren is sounded, people should take shelter immediately and seek more information through local media, NOAA weather radio or the NWS. When the sirens stop, it does not indicate the threat of a hazardous weather event has passed. The sirens are a "take cover" signal, and do not sound an "all clear" signal.

Residents are also reminded not to call 911 to ask questions about a severe weather event.

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