How to prepare for severe weather season

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FARMERSBURG, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – Severe weather and flood preparedness week in Indiana is here and although it may be hard to think of what you need to know in an emergency situation, we want to make sure you are prepared in the case severe weather strikes in our area.

According to the National Weather Service, 2020 saw less than the typical average for tornadoes in Indiana. But as we get into severe weather season, we are expecting a similar pattern to the winter of 2010-2011. That year we were well above the average when it came to tornadoes in the state.

Although tornadoes do occur year-round, peak season is during the months of April to June. Tornadoes can happen at any hour and given time during the day, but the primary hours are from 3pm to 8pm. The second peak is during the hours between 12am and 3am. The most dangerous time is during the overnight hours because they are harder to spot and recognize.

There are three typical situations. A tornado watch, a tornado warning, and even sometimes a tornado emergency.

A tornado watch is issued over a larger area and is to make people aware that a tornado is possible and to be prepared.

A tornado warning is issued over a much smaller area and means that it was either issued because a person has spotted it or was indicated by radar rotation. Either way you need to seek shelter immediately.

A tornado emergency is very rare but if one is issued it means a confirmed violent tornado is on the ground and is causing severe threat to human life and significant damage. The last time one of these happened in the state of Indiana was the Kokomo tornado on August 24th, 2015. The last time a tornado emergency was declared in Illinois was December 1st, 2018. A tornado emergency has only been used 4 times ever in the state of Indiana.

So, if you catch yourself in a situation where a tornado does happen to strike, a basement is the safest place to be if you have one. If not, a small interior room in the middle of your house or apartment with NO windows. In high rise buildings, interior rooms with no windows or in a stairwell is safest. If in a mobile home, try to evacuate and head to a safer structure or tornado shelter if it is still safe to do so. And if you are in a mobile vehicle and have no safe structure near you, get away from the car and low to the ground.

The best advice we can give you is to listen to WTWO/WAWV or a weather radio for watches and warnings. If thunder roars then go indoors, stay away from windows, avoid electrical equipment and corded telephones, pick a tornado safe room in your home and to keep extra supplies such as food and water up to three days near your safe place, a flashlight and spare batteries, a first aid kit, medicine, extra clothes, cash, and an extra blanket handy in case of emergency situations.

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