On average, Iowa experiences 15 days with tornadoes per year and an average of 48 tornadoes per year. But severe thunderstorms are a lot more likely. In the past 20 years, Iowa saw an average of 615 severe thunderstorm warnings issued by the National Weather Service per year.

When severe weather warnings are issued, you should know exactly where to go in every situation.

Where to seek shelter

House with no basement: Take shelter on the lowest level of the home in an interior room that has no windows. This tends to be a closet or bathroom. If there are no rooms without windows, get as far away from the window as you can.

House with a basement: The basement is always the safest place to be during a severe thunderstorm or tornado. If the basement has a walk-out patio, take shelter in a room that is the farthest away from the door and windows. As stated above, take shelter in an interior room.

Apartment: most apartments do not have a basement. Go to the lowest level of the apartment building and into the hallway or interior room.

Mobile home: IF you have time (more than 5-7 minutes), drive to the nearest sturdy building. It is important to make plans before severe weather occurs (such as during severe weather awareness week, when a watch has been issued, or if you know severe weather is possible in the near future) to ensure that you are not taking extra time to figure out where the safest place is. This may be a library, a city building, or even a gas station which typically has a walk-in cooler which is safer than being in a mobile home.
If there is no time, get low to the floor and protect your head and neck.

*Be sure to check with mobile home park management to find out if there is a storm-safe building located on the premises. (Do not do this if a warning has already been issued)

Car: Do not get out of your car in a severe thunderstorm or tornado. If you can drive away from a tornado, do so. If you cannot, keep your seatbelt on, duck below the window, and cover your head and neck with your arms and hands. Do not park under overpasses during a tornado, this is even more dangerous than being out in the open.

Homeless or outdoors: Go to the lowest level of the closest public building.

Department or grocery store: Move to the center of the store and listen to instructions given by store managers.