Iowa storm sirens sound for statewide tornado drill

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Sirens sounded in some Iowa communities during a statewide tornado drill Wednesday, March 27, 2013.

Schools, citizens and businesses were encouraged to participate in the drill by practicing getting to safe shelter as if the warning was for a real tornado threat.

Iowa and Illinois are among 14 states in the central U.S. that will now use the Impact Based Warnings from the National Weather Service.  These new warnings are designed to provide additional information about the expected impact of a weather threat.  The system was designed after review of the Joplin, Missouri tornado that happened in 2011.

The IBW warnings begin April 1, 2013.

The National Weather Service used the state’s Emergency Alert System to broadcast the tornado drill message.  NOAA weather radios were be activated, and radio and television broadcasters serving Iowa will received the drill message.

The drill began with a test tornado watch at 10 a.m., followed by a test tornado warning at about 10:25 a.m.  It was up to local officials to determine whether or not to sound outdoor warning sirens, depending on local test policies.