News Flash

City of Coralville News

Posted on: April 17, 2019

Prepare for Spring Weather Emergencies

Storm clouds

Spring brings the potential for weather conditions that can range from gentle rains to straight-line winds and tornadoes. Now is the time to plan and prepare for possible weather emergencies, review your notification methods and disaster response plans, and ensure that family members and co-workers know what to do if a weather emergency occurs.

Sign up for Emergency Notifications
Residents are encouraged to sign up for Johnson County’s Emergency Notification System (JCENS), a free alert system that relays local emergency weather alerts issued by the National Weather Service via voicemail, text, or e-mail. To register, visit JCENS is a part of the Alert Iowa Statewide Messaging System. 

Outdoor Emergency Warning Sirens
Outdoor emergency warning sirens are located throughout Johnson County—including Coralville—and are operated by the Joint Emergency Communications Center of Johnson County. The sirens are designed to alert those who are outside that something dangerous is approaching. The sirens are tested on the first Wednesday of each month at 10:00 am. Under the Johnson County outdoor warning system guidelines, sirens are sounded for the following conditions:

  • Tornadoes: tornado warnings, indicated by Doppler radar or if reported by trained tornado spotters.
  • High winds: for severe thunderstorm warnings if they containt winds of 70 mph or more. These winds can snap or uproot trees.
  • Large hail: when 1.75-inch or larger (golf ball-sized) hail is produced that can break windows.

When activated, sirens will run for three minutes, and may be sounded multiple times to warn of continued or new threats. Johnson County does not issue an all-clear signal.

When sirens sound, take shelter inside and stay away from windows; in the threat of a tornado, go to a basement or the lowest floor. Tune in to local media or a NOAA All-Hazards Weather Radio for weather alerts and information. 

Sirens will not be sounded for every storm, but that does not mean that other storms don’t pose a risk. Winds lower than 70 mph, which would not prompt a siren signal, can bring down tree branches or overturn objects, causing the potential for serious injury. The presence of lightning is also a threat. Use common sense during storm events and take precautions as necessary.

Indoor Alerts: NOAA Weather Radio
For alerts indoors, a NOAA All-Hazards Weather Radio is like a smoke detector for severe weather, designed to wake and alert people when a warning is issued for their area so appropriate action can be taken.

Emergency & Disaster Response Plan
Families and businesses should have an emergency and disaster response plan that includes an emergency supply kit, a family communications plan, and information on where to seek shelter in case of an emergency.

For more information on how to prepare a plan, visit or the emergency preparedness page on the Johnson County website at

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