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Early CodeRED Weather Warnings credited during Midwest tornado outbreak

Patty Reeves of Glenwood, Iowa, left, helps boyfriend Kenny Reeves retrieve belongings from the upstairs of his severely damaged home.

The CodeRED Weather Warning system was credited for alerting the town of Thurman during a devastating tornado that caused extensive damage to 75 to 90 percent of the buildings in the small town, but spared the lives of all its residents.

In a KETV report, City Councilwoman Mary Kesterson said she was thankful for the CodeRED notification that reached her cell phone, her husband’s cell phone and her house phone all at once, with a message urging that they take immediate shelter because they were in the direct path of a tornado.

Thurman Mayor Rod Umphreys indicated that residents received CodeRED warnings before a twister reached Fremont County. “The combined warnings likely saved lives,” Umphreys said in a KGAN report, because the tornado was shrouded in rain.

Mike Crecelius, Fremont County Emergency Management Coordinator, also credited CodeRED in an Omaha World-Herald report. He believed residents got an early heads up from the county’s CodeRED emergency notification system, which put out calls before tornado sirens sounded in Thurman on Saturday.

The CodeRED Weather Warning system automatically delivers targeted severe weather alerts, moments after they are issued by the National Weather Service. Calls are delivered so quickly that they often arrive prior to any other public notifications, providing citizens extra time to prepare.