Severe thunderstorms are expected to develop across Iowa on Friday afternoon, with the risk of tornadoes and large hail.
Severe thunderstorm warning issued for Des Moines metro
A trio of severe thunderstorm warnings have been issued for metro counties as storms approach Des Moines.
The bulk of the Des Moines area is covered under a warning until 3 p.m. as a storm moves in capable of pingpong ball sized hail and 60 mph wind gusts.
Another warning, extending from De Soto to Norwalk and south toward Winterset, is in effect until 2:30 p.m. Half dollar-sized hail and winds of up to 50 mph are possible.
A third warning, in effect until 2:45 p.m. for areas including Indianola, Milo and Murray. Wind gusts there could reach 60 mph with golf ball-sized hail.
Click here for a map and full list of warnings across the state.
Are there any tornado warnings in Iowa?
As of 2 p.m., there are no active tornado warnings. A warning in southern Iowa that originally included parts of Clark, Decatur, Ringgold and Union counties has been canceled.
A handful of severe thunderstorm warnings are active across the state. The NWS expects additional storms to develop.
What is the severe weather forecast for Iowa today? Is there a tornado watch too?
The National Weather Service issued a tornado watch for parts of central and eastern Iowa, including Des Moines, Ames and Iowa City. The watch encompasses an area with a population of over 5 million people and will remain in place until 8 p.m. Friday evening.
A tornado watch means conditions are right for a tornado to form. Iowans should pay attention to conditions and be prepared to seek shelter.
The National Weather Service’s warning states that “this is a particularly dangerous situation.” Meteorologist Jeff Zogg said the National Weather Service does not typically issue that type of warning unless the situation “pose[s] a significant danger to the public.”
“We’re looking at the potential for severe weather this afternoon. Tornadoes, large hail, damaging winds. Any storms that do develop will move fairly rapidly. And there is the potential for violent long-track tornadoes too. So that’s one of the reasons we put that kind of wording in there,” he said.
Zogg recommended Iowans pay close attention to weather updates, such as through visiting https://www.weather.gov/dmx/, and to have a plan in place if severe weather hits their locations.
“Just be aware that any storms that do develop will intensify pretty rapidly and move fast as well,” he said, adding Iowans should “know where you can go for safety if threatening weather does approach your location.”
What should you do during a tornado warning?
The weather service says it’s always important to have an emergency plan in place in the event of severe weather, including designating a “safe place” in your home, preferably away from windows and in an interior room. Keeping supplies handy like flashlights, batteries, food, water, clothes and shoes is also recommended.
More tornado safety tips:What to do when a watch or warning is issued depends on where you are