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Severe weather came early in Iowa. Are you prepared?

River to River, hosted by Ben Kieffer

This hour, learn what you can do to prepare for dangerous weather. We also hear from one storm chaser eager to get out when most of us ought to be hunkered down.

Earlier this month, a tornado tore through Winterset leaving six people dead and killing another in Lucas County. While deaths related to storms are never expected, severe weather usually happens in the spring.

On this episode of River to River, host Ben Kieffer speaks with Diogenes Ayala, who directed the emergency response to the tornado in Winterset.

"The idea of going out and looking at tornadoes — I think every Iowan does that — but you just have to be careful, right? That tornado came in so fast and so furious that if you were standing outside, you have a very small amount of time to go in and reach cover," Ayala said.

We also hear from storm chaser Mark De Bruin about his adventures following the worst of weather. Engineer and meteorologist Tim Marshall, a specialist in wind damage, explains what makes a building capable of withstanding strong winds.

Last, The Des Moines Register's Lee Rood joins to talk about why some insurance companies are telling some Iowans that they are underinsured for the damage from the central Iowa tornadoes.


  • Diogenes Ayala, Madison County emergency management director
  • Mark De Bruin, storm chaser based in Ames
  • Tim Marshall, professional engineer and meteorologist at Haag Engineering
  • Lee Rood, reader's watchdog columnist for The Des Moines Register
Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River
Zachary Oren Smith is a reporter covering Eastern Iowa