Deadly Adair Tornado Serves as Reminder of Severe Thunderstorm Risks

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ADAIR, Iowa  —  Early Wednesday morning an EF 2 tornado in Adair took the life of 74-year-old Linda Brownlee and critically injured her husband 78-year-old Harold Brownlee.

The National Weather Service did issue a severe thunderstorm warning around 12:43 Wednesday morning but no warning was pushed when the tornado hit around 1:30 a.m.

“We disseminate the severe thunderstorm warnings in all the traditional means, it would go out to the media, NOAA weather radio, the only alerts that would come across on your cellular, the WE alerts, the wireless emergency alerts are tornado warnings and flash flood warnings so severe thunderstorm warnings do not go out via the wireless alerts at this time,” National Weather Service Meteorologist Mike Fowle said.

The National Weather Service says nighttime storms are difficult to see because they have few spotters. And even more challenging since most people are asleep during the alerts on the NOAA radio or through special apps. Also, overnight tornados are rare, in the last 38 years, less than 5 percent of tornados happened between midnight and 6 a.m.

The National Weather Service wants people to understand that anytime there is a severe thunderstorm, there is always a chance for a tornado to form.

“At any time of the day, it doesn’t matter the time of day, the time of season, if a severe thunderstorm warning is issued or a tornado warning is issued action, we want is for people to take action, take cover,” Fowle said.

There are many NOAA Weather Radio apps you can download that will alert you in the middle of the night if there is a severe thunderstorm or tornado warning.


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