Mar 8, 2022 - News

Tornado warnings delayed during Iowa's deadly storm

Broken out building from tornado
Cleanup efforts in Chariton, Iowa, on March 6, after a tornado tore through the area. Photo: Meg McLaughlin/The Register / USA Today Network

Tornado warnings issued by the National Weather Service were delayed during Saturday's deadly storms across Iowa, according to the Washington Post.

  • Some of them didn't reach Iowans for as long as 7 minutes after they were disseminated.

Why it matters: Every minute counts, especially in a violent storm like the one last weekend, which killed seven people.

State of play: Des Moines NWS staff quickly issued more than a dozen tornado warnings Saturday, but a "technical delay" experienced by NWS offices nationwide led to "2-7 minute" delays for some transmissions.

  • Even so, lead times still averaged around 20 minutes, Susan Buchanan, NWS' director of public affairs, told the newspaper.

The Des Moines office issued the first tornado warning at 3:22pm. It was delayed by 2 minutes and 47 seconds.

  • At 4:34pm, Des Moines sent out a warning about the large and deadly Winterset tornado. It was delayed by 6 minutes.

The big picture: Significant technical issues have "plagued" the National Weather Service in recent years, Wapo reports.

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